The Orange County Register wrote yesterday that a report released by the CHP identified 7,262 collisions involving big rigs in California last year. It also concluded that 56% of those collisions were caused by passenger car drivers. Therefore the CHP launched a “drivers education” program.
Response to the article was immediate, swift and in my opinion correct. Mail name “nijode”, who drives 100,000 miles a year noted that big rigs drive too closely behind each other, speed, tailgate, and car drivers have to cut in front of big rigs just to get on and off freeways. Mail name “harleyjazz” wrote that there are far more cars on the road than trucks, so it stands to reason that per vehicle, trucks statistically cause far more accidents than cars.
Both responders have great points, and I have a few more. While the cause of these accidents is statistically higher for automobiles, truck drivers are “Professional Drivers”. Their statistical average accident per truck should be much, much less. Trucks also cause devastating injuries. They are a menace if not driven safely. Injuries and wrongful death to passengers and drivers of autos are much more severe than to a truck driver.
So of the 7,262 collisions, 3050 were truck driver error and the damage caused by those 3050 collisions is monsterous. I would prefer that the CHP educate truck drivers and companies about the dangers they pose and keep our highways safe. The “Professional Drivers” should have an accident cause rate of 10% or maybe even 5%. After all, they are getting paid to drive. We are all just trying to get to work and around town. Imagine you are driving on a freeway with NASCAR drivers. Wouldn’t you think that the cause of accidents should be much less for the NASCAR drivers?
Truck drivers and the companies that employ them need to police themselves to be safer on the road. For every accident caused by a truck driver and reported to the CHP, I bet there are several unreported incidents that give a clue to the incompetence of that truck driver. Until then, victims will need to be protected by an attorney to at least get compensation for the tragedy trucks cause.
Suzanne Leslie, a California Truck Accident lawyer with Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie states “Trucks are necessary on our roads, but that does not mean that they can’t be safe. Year after year, trucks are increasingly causing more accidents.”
Instead of improving safety, the truck drivers, and companies they work for, are causing more accidents. I do not agree that we should be educating the auto drivers, but actually enforcing the truck safety laws and penalizing truck driver conduct to minimize the danger on our roads.