Each year, more eight million registered semi trucks travel over 200,000 million miles in the United States, and more than half a million semi-truck accidents occur.
As semi-truck accident lawyers, we know when truck accidents occur, the occupants of cars are most likely suffer severe injuries (like spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries) and often result in wrongful death due to the sheer size and weight of these trucks.
That is precisely why new federal rules are mandating improved braking standards for large semi-trucks. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), these new rules could save an estimated 227 lives a year, prevent 300 serious personal injuries and reduce property damage claims by up to $169 million.
The new federal braking standards state that stopping distances for heavy commercial trucks must improve by at least 30 percent, so that trucks will stop in a shorter distance. For example, a semi truck traveling at 60 miles an hour will be required to come to a complete stop in 250 feet. The old standard required 355 feet.
The new policy was issued last week by the NHTSA and is scheduled to be phased in over the next four years. By 2011, 85 percent of all semi trucks will operate by this standard. Still, the report does not say what braking technologies will be used to stop speeding and decrease stopping distances.
Statistics show that large commercial vehicles are involved in fewer fatal crashes than in the past. In 2008, there were 4,229 wrongful deaths in crashes involving large trucks, down 12 percent from the 4,822 wrongful deaths recorded in 2007. We are improving, but until that number is zero, we should continue to look for ways to save lives.
As semi-truck accident attorneys, we know that when a tractor trailer, tow truck or semi truck is involved in an auto accident with a passenger vehicle, serious injuries that require medical treatment and wrongful deaths are often the result. Hopefully, this new braking standards for semi-trucks will further limit the staggering car accident statistics plaguing America’s roadways.
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