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Accident countermeasures and truck company negligence (Part 1)

The presence of trucks and tractor-trailers on the roads and highways today is a fact of life. Given this, Denver residents may sometimes feel that a certain level of risk from these vehicles is also just a part of life. To a certain extent, that's true, but there are also defensive strategies that truck drivers and trucking companies can use to help prevent truck accidents wherever possible.

Known as accident countermeasures, these strategies are actually promoted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the agency which oversees the interstate trucking industry. Let's take a look at some examples of just what the FMCSA considers to be accident countermeasures. The information could potentially help to inform an accident victim's personal injury lawsuit against a truck company.

In one case, a truck company experiencing an increase in accidents was able to identify a three-mile stretch where accidents were concentrated. Not only was this stretch of road winding and narrow, it was prone to snow and ice buildup in winter; it also saw a high volume of tourist traffic. In addition, road construction had begun on that section of the route right around the same time the accident rate increased. The accident countermeasure: re-route trucks to avoid that stretch until the end of the construction project.

While data is not available on how many accidents and injuries (even deaths) this might have prevented, it shows that truck companies can take simple steps to reduce accidents. If a company was aware of a safety situation and decided not to take countermeasures, on the other hand, that may help demonstrate both the truck company's negligence and, possibly, its liability for accidents and injuries that result. We'll look at some additional examples from the FMCSA in a follow-up post.

Source: Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, "A Motor Carrier's Guide to Improving Highway Safety," accessed on March 30, 2018

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