Trucking accidents get scrutiny from city council

Truck accidents are a problem in New York City, so much so that the city council is recommending a new way to monitor them.

Large trucks on New York's crowded streets have long been an area of concern for residents. Now the city council is stepping in to call for help in getting more information that can be used to improve safety. A new database has been suggested as a way of better monitoring truck accidents and routes throughout the area. Searches within the database could be conducted by precinct, route or borough. There is also a truck route study being conducted involving the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists on these streets.

How serious is the problem?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, motor vehicle crashes involving large commercial trucks in New York claimed the lives of 118 people in 2013. That is more than in any of the previous four years. In 2012, there were 100 such deaths, in 2011, there were 114, in 2010, there were 120 and in 2009 another 107 fatalities in truck collisions.

Looking at the greater New York City area specifically, the number of people who died after being in a large truck wreck in these five years is startling. Records show the following:

  • 49 fatalities were recorded each in Suffolk County and New York County.
  • 32 fatalities were recorded in Nassau County.
  • 30 fatalities were recorded each in Queens County and Kings County.
  • 26 fatalities were recorded in Bronx County.

All together a total of 216 people perished in the New York City region in truck accidents between 2009 and 2013.

What is the answer to this problem?

Certainly more is needed to reduce the number of truck accidents and related fatalities. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is looking for ways to curb speeding, fatigue and impairment among truckers. As USA Today and the National Transportation Safety Board reported, the death of a famous comedian in a truck accident this year was found to be impacted by both speed and fatigue on the part of the truck driver.

Speed-monitoring devices installed into trucks could be one way of better controlling truckers' speed notes Business Insurance. Tackling fatigue is the subject of some recently completed research by the FMCSA. JOC.com reports that the full results will be available soon. Many hope that it could be used to reinstate the 2013 Hours of Service rule that was stayed by Congress. Supply Chain Digest explained that the rule was put on hold pending further data.

According to the Commercial Carrier Journal, drivers will soon be subject to more rigorous pre-hire drug and alcohol screening as well as annual reviews. This effort and the random substance tests noted by Bulk Transporter could help to reduce the opportunities for truckers to drive while impaired.

Legal help is always important

Despite the efforts of the FMCSA, every person should know that they have the right to seek legal help if involved in a truck accident. Contacting an attorney after such an incident is always recommended.