Chris Spear on Trucking Safety and Young Drivers

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Chris Spear, President and CEO of the American Trucking Associations (ATA), is a strong advocate for truck safety, working with federal agencies, state governments, law enforcement, and industry leaders in order to create safe environments for both truckers and other drivers alike.

Spear has been working with industry leaders to ensure that truckers have access to the necessary resources and equipment to stay safe on roads focusing on making our highways safer for everyone, by implementing measures such as increased monitoring of trucks, greater accountability for truckers, and increased safety regulations. 

Truck accidents are a serious and tragic reality on American roads. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that in 2017, there were 4,889 fatal truck-related accidents resulting in 5,142 deaths. 

These fatalities equate to 14 percent of all traffic-related deaths that year. In addition to the human toll, these accidents also result in billions of dollars worth of economic losses due to injury, property damage, and lost productivity.

However as pointed out while addressing a 2020 hearing; 

  • From 1980-2017, there has been a 69% decrease in the large truck-involved fatal crash rate;
  • From 1980-2017, there has been a 71% decrease in the combination truck-involved fatal crashes.
  •  In 2017, 72% of large truck crashes had no driver-related factors recorded in multiple-vehicle crashes.

Despite this insurance premiums on Trucking fleets has increased up to 40% in the past few years due to a number of personal injury lawsuits against trucking companies across the united states. Racking up, in some cases, multi-million dollar payouts. In turn, this will increase trucking rates which will be eventually passed onto consumers and the products they buy.  

It should be noted that many of these accidents were not the result of driver error.

Are Young Truck Drivers More Dangerous ?

In 2021, FMCSA green lit ATA’s proposed Driver Apprenticeship Program (in a limited capacity), which will allow for the training of CDL drivers over the age of 18, thus developing an interest in younger people to pursue a career in the industry. 

He had previously blasted the use of a 29 year old safety study, which was both flawed and outdated, highlighting the dangers of young drivers. This study being quoted by opponents of younger drivers behind the wheel of big rigs since 1989. 

“There is no reason not to hire young drivers after we have added 400 additional hours of training, including 240 hours with an experienced driver trainer in the truck with them and mandatory safety technology installed on the vehicle,”

With a shortfall of 80,000 drivers across the USA, proper training, not age, should dictate whether or not a driver should be on the road.

Safety is a priority in Chris Spear's mission of reducing truck-related accidents and fatalities on our highways. ATA are devoted to educating drivers and law enforcement on safe driving practices and have long introduced safety guidelines far in advance of mandated laws such as the use of ELD’s, and random drug testing for drivers.

Safety regulations are designed to protect not only truck drivers, but all road users. These regulations specify requirements such as mandatory rest periods for truck drivers, cargo securement procedures, use of electronic logging devices and roadside inspections.

Safety should always come first on our roads, and when those standards are not met, victims should have access to justice. Our attorneys can help you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries and losses in the case of a Philadelphia truck accident.  Get in touch with us today to learn more about your legal rights following a truck accident.  We would be happy to discuss your case with you and provide guidance on how to proceed. 

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