According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, a division of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the transportation industry makes up about nine percent of the entire U.S. economy and employs millions of Americans. However, with so many trucks on the road, some areas of the country are becoming much more dangerous for drivers. Kansas City, sadly, is among them. Trucking accident lawyers here in Kansas City are seeing more and more big rig crashes on our local highways, so growth certainly comes at a cost.
Kansas City Trucking and Transportation Growth
While many parts of the country are seeing diminished job growth and economic backsliding, Kansas City is growing rapidly. In 2014 alone, the region saw about 264 million tons of freight with a total gross estimated value of roughly $357 billion. As of June 2017 Commerce Department figures, truck transportation greatly outnumbered all other types of transportation, including pipeline, air freight, ships, and rail, all combined.
Increased Freight Corridors
According to the Federal Highway Administration, there are multiple major corridors passing directly through Kansas City. A major corridor is defined by the DOT as a highway with more than 8,500 trucks per day (totaling at least 50 million tons per year of freight). Likewise, railways that transport at least 50 million tons per year are included in this definition. A look at the freight corridor maps reveals that several major railways and interstates intersect in Kansas City, making it a major thoroughfare to western shipping.
Reasons for Trucking Accidents
Each year, we see major trucking corridors becoming increasingly more log jammed by large truck traffic, and each year there are thousands of serious injuries and fatalities due to negligent trucking companies and careless drivers. This is not to blame all truck drivers; some of the best drivers on the road are professional truck drivers. But with the increased access to technology in the cab, more distractions than ever before, and less experienced operators at the wheel, the risks to the public are greater than ever.
Some of the most common reasons for serious or fatal truck accidents are:
- Driver inexperience – Time reports how trucking has gone from a lucrative profession to what many drivers now regard as a dying job with terrible lifestyle and poor benefits. Many of the largest trucking outfits in the country see high turnover and a lot of drivers with little to no experience.
- Intoxication – It’s hard to know why anyone would even think about drinking before operating a semi-truck, but it happens.
- Fatigue – Perhaps the most common cause of serious truck accidents, fatigued and overworked drivers are operating on America’s highways all day and night. You can find them swerving off the road and veering onto shoulders, often jerking their trucks back to the road over and over again.
- Violating hours of service rules – The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) publishes strict rules on how long a truck driver can be awake and operating a vehicle. But rules, as they say, are made to be broken. Sadly, when it comes to these rules, breaking them usually ends up costing innocent people their lives.
- Distracted driving (texting, reading, cell phones) – The industry has worked to reduce distractions, with many companies prohibiting drivers from using phones (even hands-free) while driving, and creating ways to lock down in-cab devices while in motion. Still, distracted driving is very common.
What to Do if Hurt in a Kansas City Truck Accident
If you’ve been hurt by a careless truck driver, you should not have to take on the trucking company and its powerful insurance company by yourself. It can cost thousands of dollars just to investigate and pursue a claim against a trucking company. The experienced attorneys of the Krause and Kinsman Law Firm understand the games that insurance companies play, and we know how to get compensation for victims.
Call us any time to schedule a free consultation. Remember, there are strict time limits that can limit how long you have to bring a claim. So, don’t delay. We never collect a fee unless we can recover for you, so you have nothing to lose by calling.
Robert Kinsman is a personal injury, mass tort, business litigation, and employment discrimination attorney who practices in Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law and has been practicing law for several years now. Robert Kinsman is passionate about normalizing the life of his clients after they have been seriously injured. Learn more about his experience here.