In the United States, freight is mainly transported by trucks. It comes as no surprise that trucks make up 4.7 percent of all passenger vehicles. Shockingly, 12.4 percent of all fatal crashes involve trucks. In a truck accident, the people in the other vehicle stand very little chance. Statistics document that the majority of fatalities in truck accidents are the people in a car involved in the accident, not the truck.
Federal legislators have attempted to make trucking safer by enforcing specific laws and rules. These laws are enforced across the country, including Tennessee. The safety measures relate to the number of hours a truck driver is allowed to work before taking a rest period. However, surveys suggest that truck drivers often work longer than allowed by law and delay having necessary repairs done to their vehicles in order to increase their income.
The way in which compensation of truckers is structured often induces truckers to find ways to circumvent safety regulations by driving while fatigued and/or delaying repairs. The majority of intercity truckers are not paid an hourly rate; rather, they are compensated for miles driven. This means they receive no money for the time it takes to load or unload a truck. The situation created by a mileage rate compensation system appears to be a recipe for unsafe driving.
It is estimated that 13,000 truck accidents a year can be attributed to the pressure on truck drivers to drive enough to earn a sufficient income. Victims of a Tennessee truck accident, or the families of fatal victims who believe that negligence by a truck driver and/or the trucker's employer was the root cause of the accident may choose to file a civil claim for damages suffered in a civil court. In cases of serious injury, a personal injury claim may be filed, while a wrongful death claim may be filed in the case of a fatal accident.
Source: justice.org, "Truck Safety Alert: The Rising Danger from Trucks, and How to Stop It", Accessed on March 23, 2015