New York City Council raises flag about truck accidents

The New York City Council is calling for a database to track and record truck accidents in the city.

Moved by concerns about truck accident risks and fatalities in the city, some New York City Council members have proposed the development of a new database. This database, according to the New York Post, would track information about accidents on the city's designated truck routes. People could search for data based upon borough, route or precinct.

Truck accident dangers are getting more attention as of late in the city. A study of bike and pedestrian safety on truck routes is currently underway as well.

Why the concern?

Data supplied by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that in 2013, 118 people died in accidents involving large trucks in all of New York. That number is higher than three of the four previous years in which 100, 114, 120 and 107 people died in 2012, 2011, 2010 and 2009 statewide.

Statistics for counties near New York City show the following for the period from 2009 through 2013:

  • In both New York and Suffolk Counties, 49 people each died in truck crashes.
  • In Nassau County, 32 people lost their lives in truck accidents.
  • In both Kings County and Queens County, 30 truck accident fatalities in each were recorded.
  • In Bronx County, another 26 fatalities occurred.

In all, 216 lives were lost in large truck crashes in these counties over this five-year period.

Is anything being done to improve safety?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is trying to reduce accidents caused by speeding, impairment and fatigue. A nationally known comedian died in an accident this spring in which both fatigue and speed were identified as factors according to USA Today and the National Transportation Safety Board. Business Insurance explains that trucks may have devices installed in them to monitor the speeds at which drivers operate vehicles.

The Commercial Carrier Journal indicates a new database and set of rules surrounding the hiring process for new drivers is in the works. Bulk Transporter adds that random drug and alcohol tests of drivers are continuing.

The FMCSA's effort to change rest and break requirements for commercial drivers was put on hold until additional data was collected, according to Supply Chain Digest. explains that the research the FMCSA was ordered to conduct has been completed. Now the agency is preparing its report which will be presented to the Department of Transportation's Inspector General.

What more can be done?

While it is good to see the FMCSA work to improve safety, that is simply not enough. Every person who is personally injured or whose loved one is injured in a truck crash also has the opportunity to seek compensation. This should be done by working with an attorney experienced in these accidents.