CNBC to Air Investigative Series COLLISION COURSE Tonight
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCSA), nearly 4,000 people died in trucking accidents in 2012 - up 18% from 2009. But what is being done to ensure better safety on U.S. roads?
Today, Wednesday, July 30th, CNBC, First in Business Worldwide, will air a four-part investigative series "Collision Course," reported by Eamon Javers, which shines a light on the dangers of crashes that involve long-haul trucks. The special report will run throughout CNBC's Business Day programming (M-F, 4AM-7PM ET) and on CNBC.com.
The four-part series includes:
CNBC breaks down the numbers highlighting that 20% of trucks (over 2 million) inspected in 2012 had out of service violations - faulty brakes, bad tires and shouldn't have been on the road. And, nearly 5% of truck drivers (171,000) had enough violations to be pulled from behind the wheel.
Javers speaks with Dan Lindner whose wife, mother-in-law and two young sons left their home in Illinois to visit family in Ohio, but all tragically died when a truck driver plowed into the back of the family's minivan. According to the police report, truck driver Clyde Roberts, was driving at an unsafe speed. In addition, he had three prior rear-end accidents and seven warning letters from his employer, Millis Transfer, yet he was allowed to continue driving. Nearly 11 people each day suffer the same fate as Lindner's family.
Can we make the roads safer? Fairly inexpensive technology can make a huge difference in improving highway safety but only 10% of trucks have it. Mercedes recently unveiled an autonomous truck and plans to have driverless trucks on the road by 2025. Volvo has developed enhanced cruise controls which automatically engage the brakes if a truck approaches another vehicle too quickly and lane departure warning systems that alerts the driver if the truck drifts into the middle of the highway. CNBC goes along for a ride in a Volvo test vehicle.
Critics say the industry is under-regulated and point to a growing problem in which companies, in an effort to avoid litigation, simply change their name - a process they call "chameleon carriers." CNBC profiles one crash in Oregon in which a driver, who admitted to using crystal meth, ran over and killed another driver who was inspecting his rig on the side of the highway. This driver's boss had opened and closed prior trucking companies, including one with safety issues.
For more information including web extras, log on to: investigationsinc.cnbc.com.
Follow @CNBCInvestigate on Twitter, and join the conversation using hashtag #CollisionCourse.