As Oregon’s largest city and the epicenter for freeways running to other parts of the Pacific Northwest, Portland sees a significant amount of truck traffic. Unfortunately, sharing the road with semi-trucks, 18-wheelers, and other big rigs puts motorists at risk. As truck accident rates have steadily climbed over the past decade, trucking companies have faced pressure from safety officials and increased liability for damages motorists suffer. Those that previously balked at making safety improvements due to the costs are now benefiting from programs that defray expenses while reducing truck accident risks.
Truck Accidents a Danger for Drivers and Others on the Road
The Insurance Journal published an article in late February 2020 about the risks faced by truck drivers. Driving a truck is considered one of the most dangerous occupations, and long hours on the road, carrying heavy loads, and navigating massive machines weighing up to 80,000 pounds through traffic puts drivers at risk for potentially life-threatening accidents and injuries. However, unlike other dangerous occupations in which the primary threat concerns employees, truck accidents also pose a major risk to others on the road.
In fact, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that in roughly 80 percent of truck accident cases, the most serious injuries are suffered not by the truck driver but by other motorists involved. Trucking company practices often contribute to these crashes. These include:
- Not properly vetting drivers or requiring the appropriate license;
- Not penalizing them for traffic infractions;
- Not providing proper training in terms of operation, truck maintenance, and loading practices;
- Requiring overly demanding schedules, which makes speeding, drowsy driving, and other reckless behaviors more likely to occur.
Trucking companies have faced pressure to make safety improvements. In the past, they were reluctant to do so due to the costs involved. New programs and increased liability for injuries suffered by motorists in truck accidents is prompting changes throughout the industry.
Improvements to Prevent Truck Accidents and Injuries
Samsara is a company that provides internet-based safety features for the trucking industry. This includes dash cams that record information during trips, allowing for feedback on improving performance and safety. In February 2020, Samsara partnered with RLI Transportation, a leading trucking insurer, to provide free dashcams and insurance discounts to trucking companies in an attempt to reduce truck accident rates.
The move is part of a long-overdue effort at improving trucking safety, which also reduces truck company liability. EHS Daily Advisor reports that these efforts include:
- Implementing zero-tolerance policies for driver service violations;
- Providing more extensive driver safety training;
- Modifying driver schedules, allowing more rest periods;
- Equipping trucks with crash avoidance technology, such as lane departure warnings, blind-spot detection, and stability control systems.
Let Us Help You Today
Trucking company policies increase truck accident risks. At the Johnston Law Firm P.C., we hold these companies accountable. To get the compensation you need to recover from your injuries, get our legal team on your side. Call (503) 546-3167 or contact our Portland truck accident attorneys online today to schedule a consultation.