To most residents in Louisiana, the sight of a tractor-trailer on a local road, highway or freeway is not at all unusual. However, the experience of a big rig pulling up next to a person in a passenger vehicle may well make that occupant feel dwarfed.
The massive size and weight of semi-trucks may expose people in smaller vehicles to serious risks if and when an accident with a commercial vehicle occurs. Unfortunately for many people in Louisiana, this seems to be happening more in recent years.
Statistics reveal a tragic trend
Records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show a significant jump in truck accident fatalities in Louisiana between 2014 and 2018. At the outset of that five-year span, truck crashes claimed 80 lives, representing 10.8% of all traffic fatalities in 2014. The situation stayed relatively similar the following year when 79 people died in truck accidents, representing 10.5% of all accident deaths.
In 2016, 92 lives were lost in truck wrecks, accounting for 12.2% of the state’s total vehicular fatalities. Another increase followed in 2017 when 102 deaths resulted from truck accidents, accounting for 13.2% of all deaths. In 2018, another 103 people were killed in truck accidents, out of 768 total vehicular deaths.
Government aims to reduce trucker fatigue
Fatigue among truckers represents one risk to everyone on the road. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Hours of Service rule aims to prevent serious fatigue among truck drivers. This rule limits the number of hours a driver may work and operate a truck each day and each work week.