When you’re cruising along the highway, you probably assume that the 80,000 pound 18-wheeler barreling toward you at 70 mph receives regular safety inspections. Sadly, that’s not always the case.
A recent blitz of surprise safety inspections in Nebraska resulted in nearly half of all commercial vehicles being placed in out-of-service status, according to the Nebraska State Patrol. The inspection sweep took place May 16-18, 2017 in Lincoln, Omaha and Sarpy County, targeting trucks that might not travel outside city limits or pass through weigh stations. The results were staggering:
In Lincoln, 41% of the trucks inspected were taken out of service for safety violations. In Omaha, the out-of-service rate for safety violations was 44.8% and a 40% rate in Sarpy County. Out of 261 total inspections, 109 trucks were taken out of service.
Nebraska isn’t the only state with large truck safety issues, though.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reported that in 2015, 178,375 large trucks and buses in the U.S. were cited for “inspection/repair and maintenance parts and accessories” violations during roadside inspections. Another 133,788 received citations for “operating a commercial vehicle without periodic inspection.”
Even more alarming is the fact that truck manufacturers often recall vehicles for defective and dangerous parts, relying on the trucking companies to comply with recall remedies that can prevent crashes.
Thousands of Trucks Recalled
In 2017, truck manufacturers have already issued several recalls related to large trucks, including this small sampling:
- Mack Trucks Inc: (April 2017) Recall affects 3,282 buses, medium and heavy vehicles. Alternator cable may be incorrectly sized, which can potentially result in overheating of the cable and potentially cause a vehicle fire.
- Navistar: (April 2017) Recall affects 2,733 International trucks due to an air dryer mounting bracket issue that could affect the brake system, increasing the risk of a crash.
- Roush CleanTech: (March 2017) Recall affects 434 buses, medium and heavy vehicles with a fuel valve that may short-circuit, causing the engine to turn off and increasing the risk of a crash.
- Daimler Trucks North America: (March 2017) Recall affects 450 Western Star 4900 vehicles due to a defect with the aluminum air tanks that could increase the risk of a crash.
- Daimler Trucks North America: (Jan. 2017) Recall affects 769 Freightliner Trucks because turn signals and instrument cluster may not work properly, increasing the risk of a collision.
Texas Tops the List for Inspections Into Safety Issues
Not only did Texas report more fatalities (570) caused by large truck and bus crashes in 2014 than any other state in the country, it also tops the list for the number of FMCSA inspections into safety issues, according to the FMCSA.
When it comes to large trucks and buses, Texas had more FMCSA investigations of identified areas of non-compliance and safety concerns in 2015 than any other state in the U.S. with 2,194 investigations. California ranked second highest with 838 non-compliance and safety investigations.
Did a Trucking Company’s Safety Issue Cause Your 18-Wheeler Crash?
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in an 18-wheeler accident, you deserve to know whether the accident was caused by the negligence of the trucking company, especially if the crash stemmed from an ignored or overlooked safety or recall issue.
That’s why you need to hire an experienced and qualified truck accident attorney who knows how to obtain maintenance logs, vehicle inspection reports, safety records and other important documents.
Don’t go up against a trucking company and its mighty insurance company alone. An experienced truck accident attorney can investigate your 18-wheeler crash and fight to get the settlement you need to put your life back together. Call us today at (713) 668-4545 to discuss your case for free.