The number of large tractor trailers is expected to increase in the U.S., which may have implications for truck drivers and motorists.

Large tractor trailers are an essential part of California’s economy, delivering vital products throughout the state and across the country. Many motorists are used to driving alongside these big rigs on a daily basis. However, negligent truck drivers and faulty equipment pose a potential danger to motorists and pedestrians. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, 3,802 people were killed in large trucking accidents nationwide in 2012, the latest year in which fatality statistics are available. That year, there were 244 large truck accident fatalities in California alone. Some industry experts believe that the number of truck accident deaths may increase as more tractor trailers fill the state’s highways.

Increase in freight load

The America Trucking Association has released a statement predicting the growth of U.S. freight tonnage over the next decade. By 2025, the industry expects that the amount of freight will increase by 23.5 percent. While this growth marks a healthy improvement in the U.S. economy, it also means that more tractor trailers and qualified truck drivers will be needed to deliver freight. An increase in big rig numbers could put motorists at an increased risk of an accident.

Truck driver shortage

Currently, the number of qualified truck drivers available to operate commercial trucks does not meet industry demands. This truck driver shortage is expected to increase as more truckers are needed to deliver the increasing amount of freight. The ATA reported that there are 35,000 unfilled trucker positions in the U.S. Trucking companies will have to hire at least 100,000 new truck drivers each year in order to meet the pressing demands. In some cases, trucking companies may employ drivers who do not have the appropriate qualifications in an attempt to meet deadlines and move freight.

In 2012, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration removed more than 171,000 truckers from service because they had too many violations. Fatigued, drunk and distracted truckers can cause disastrous truck accidents, which may result in catastrophic injury or death.

A commercial truck accident in New Jersey gained national attention when a tractor trailer rear-ended a limousine containing actor and comedian Tracy Morgan, as well as several other passengers. The driver, who had been awake for 24 hours, according to Bloomberg Business, smashed into the back of the limousine. The accident seriously injured Morgan and killed comedian Jimmy Mack. The truck driver faced a multitude of charges, including vehicular manslaughter. Morgan and the other accident survivors filed a third-party lawsuit against the trucking company for negligence.

Legal help may be necessary

People who have been injured or lost a loved one in a large truck accident may want to contact a personal injury attorney in California. An attorney may be helpful in exploring your legal rights and options. You may be eligible for compensation for any medical expenses, lost wages from time taken off work, property damage and emotional distress.