When prosecuting truck wreck cases, we frequently find evidence of various safety violations by either the trucking company or the truck driver or both. Falsified logbooks and hours-of-service violations, vehicles and equipment with mechanical problems, and speeding are just some of the violations that are commonly seen in these cases. Often victims of trucking accidents are left to wonder why these problems are not caught sooner, before they lead to wrecks. Needless to say, there is much room for improvement.
An excellent investigative series in the Dallas Morning News led reporters Gregg Jones and Doug Swanson to this conclusion: “The political clout of the trucking lobby and of big retailers has helped block tougher laws to police the business. As a result, industry experts and watchdog groups say, untold legions of truckers work unsafe hours, or operate faulty equipment that inspectors fail to curb, or continue driving despite numerous traffic violations, or wipe out innocent people who try to share the road. ”
Jones and Swanson also report that deregulation of interstate shipping, competition among trucking companies, economic pressure on drivers, and shrinking federal and state law enforcement budgets have all played a role in making our roads more dangerous.
Left alone, the trucking industry is not going to clean itself up, despite the many carriers and drivers who operate professionally and safely. Average citizens must demand more from our lawmakers: More meaningful oversight of the industry, more funds for enforcement, and more dangerous trucks taken off our roads.