In order to reverse this trend, two women, both whom lost children in tractor-trailer accidents, are working to close what they see as a loophole on the safety laws and regulations governing trucks that travel from state to state.
Their lobbying efforts before Congress are focused on preventing what are called "underride" accidents, in which a smaller car gets pinned underneath the much larger truck. These accidents are particularly horrific since the truck will usually shred or crush the smaller car, almost inevitably killing or seriously injuring the occupants of the vehicle in the process.
The measure the women are pushing through Congress is a bill that would require trucks to come equipped with lower hanging rails on the sides and rear of the trailer. While these won't prevent accidents per se, they will keep a smaller vehicle from getting pinned underneath the truck, thereby reducing the chance of a fatality.
Right now, the bill is being reviewed by a Congressional committee, and the women are trying to advance it until it gets signed into law. The trucking industry has expressed opposition to this measure, citing logistical reasons.
While the passage of this bill would help victims, it is also important to remember that one of the best ways, if not the best way, for truckers and their employers to prevent truck accidents is to ensure that they drive carefully and that their vehicles are safe. The family of a New Orleans resident who dies in a truck accident may have legal remedies available to them if it turns out the truck driver's carelessness contributed to the tragic loss.