North Carolina ranks number 6 in the country for the number of accidents involving tractor trailers. Of the trucks inspected in 2009, the NC Highway patrol cited violations for more than 50% and more than 12% were so bad the trucks were pulled off the road. Of the 9.3 million trucks that came through the North Carolina weigh stations in 2009, less than 1% were inspected. So it leaves 2 questions; how many trucks on the road have not been inspected, and how many of them violate safety regulations?
The highway patrol inspects for secure gas tanks, working lights, bald tires, unsecure loads and more. Many truckers speed pass weigh stations in hopes of getting away with being illegal. Another common truck driver violation involves the legal number of hours allowed on the road. In order to illegally drive with insufficient or improper rest breaks, some truck drivers falsify their written time logs.
The trucks that are in safety violation are not the only contributing factor to North Carolina’s bad rank. The number of inspections that troopers say they average a week is only about 25. That is a shockingly low number. North Carolina’s weigh stations are only open about 16 hours a day, 5 days a week. There isn’t enough manpower or certified inspectors to keep the weigh stations open 24 hours a day like many other states.
In a recent report by ABC11 news, an interview with Major Marc Nichols who runs the truck safety program for the state explained:
“We are trying to open these weigh stations more hours of the day, more times of the week, and try to catch vehicles and drivers off guard and do what we can to ensure the safety of the public. We don’t have enough troopers to inspect every truck, but that’s not the point. We have to be better planners and managers. We have to inspect the vehicles as we see needed, not all vehicles have to be stopped or inspected. So, we’re trying to stop vehicles that we feel like could cause a possibility of a safety defect on it or the driver error.”
It’s also important to remember that not every crash is a truck driver’s fault. The smaller cars and trucks around them can cause accidents by cutting in front or driving too aggressively. Because tractor trailers are larger and heavier, they take much longer to stop and slow down. Truck drivers must also contend with blind spots that make it hard to see smaller vehicles that sit in them.
All parties on the road should drive responsibly. However, negligence happens and with that, crashes. If you or a loved one has been involved in a trucking accident you may have a personal injury claim. Contact the truck accident lawyers at Fisher Stark, P.A. We have the skills and experience to prepare your case for trial. We are devoted to helping victims and their families receive full and fair compensations for their losses.
We proudly serve the communities of Western North Carolina including Buncombe County, Haywood County, Madison County, Caldwell County and Henderson County. Call today for a free case evaluation, 828.505.4300.