LEXINGTON and LOUISVILLE, Kentucky. Truck companies make important decisions every day that can impact the lives of drivers and innocent people on America’s roads. But, now, more than ever, those decisions may be facing increased scrutiny. Just this month, a fully-packed semi truck plowed into an outdoor Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12 people and injuring dozens. Truck companies and drivers are placed under scrutiny for the hours they drive, for the schedules they keep, and for the maintenance they perform (or don’t perform) on their vehicles. But do truck companies have a responsibility to vet drivers for possible terror connections, too?
According to the Atlantic, the recent Berlin terrorist attack involved the hijacking of a truck which was then later used as a weapon. Reports of the incident suggest that the terrorist attacker may have killed the driver of the truck and then driven the vehicle to the market. The frightening reality is that trucks may be a weak point in our infrastructure. With drivers carrying everything from hazardous materials to gasoline, a hijacked truck could potentially cause a great deal of damage. While truck companies are required to vet their drivers, in the future, the process may have to become more stringent to protect the general public. Questions may need to be asked about the security of drivers on the road and what they can do to protect themselves from a potential hijacking situation.
Personal injury lawyers like Mathew Troutman understand the immense power and danger that large commercial vehicles pose to the public. According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, in Kentucky in 2015, 761 people died in fatal crashes. Truck accidents result in more serious injury and can result in more widespread damage. Terrorist groups understand that large vehicles are easy to rent and acquire, and if used intentionally, can result in serious damages. According to the Atlantic, terrorists have used vehicles in Nice, France, and in Ohio. Since 1994, there have been an estimated 30 vehicle-based terrorist attacks.
The decisions policy makers have to make when protecting the public are tough. Do we increase surveillance of roads and tolls? Do we require truck companies to more carefully vet and background check drivers? As it stands, truck companies are required to properly vet and train their drivers to protect the general public from drivers who may not be fit to operate a large truck.
The reality is that, even as crowds are possible targets, these attacks are rare. More common are accidents involving passenger vehicles and trucks. More people die from car accidents in the U.S. than they die to due terrorist acts. When it comes to keeping the American people safe, regulations on the hours of service laws for truck drivers may have a more immediate impact on saving lives. The Troutman Law Office sees everyday the impact that vehicle accidents can have on everyday lives. Our firm uses the law to seek justice for families who have been affected by personal injury accidents. Learn more by visiting our personal injury website today.