We Must Demand More Safety from Trucking Companies & Their Drivers
On Wednesday, October 24th, an 18-wheeler ran a red light on Highway 71 in Bastrop, Texas and broadsided a school bus full of children. Our thoughts and prayers are with the injured students and their families.
The driver of the 18-wheeler claims that he attempted to stop before hitting the bus. This excuse requires some follow-up questioning, such as:
- Why did the truck driver wait until it was too late to apply the brakes?
- Was he driving while distracted? or
- Was he driving with bad brakes?
According to a study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 87.2% of tractor-trailer crashes are caused by driver error; only 10.1% are caused by mechanical failure.
Driver error can be controlled by the driver’s attention to the circumstances around him; moreover, trucking companies can reduce driver error by putting their drivers through proactive safety awareness training.
Likewise, brake failures can be prevented through proper maintenance and inspections. According to state and federal regulations, a professional truck driver is required to perform a pre-trip inspection of his truck before starting a trip as well as a post-trip inspection at the end of each trip. These inspections include the brakes.
Consequently, whether the crash was caused by driver error or mechanical problems, either excuse is unacceptable. The health and safety of the motoring public depend on safe drivers and safe equipment. We must all demand more safety from the trucking companies and their drivers.
Attorney Dan Linebaugh is board-certified as a specialist in personal injury trial law. His law firm focuses on helping people harmed in bus or truck crash collisions.