Lobbyists for the trucking industry have been attempting to bring about a loosening of federal restrictions on truck drivers for years. The Trump administration appears to have listened to them, and regulations are likely to be relaxed. The guidelines that limit the amount of time truck drivers can be on the roads in Pennsylvania and across the country may get less strict in the near future. The rules that are currently in place require semi-truck drivers to have 10 hours in a row off duty between 14-hour on-duty windows.
Commercial trucks and passenger vehicles routinely share the road in Pennsylvania and most other states. While truck drivers must remember to drive in a safe manner, they say that passenger drivers need to do the same. A contest was held by Teletrac Navman to solicit safety tips from truck drivers that could help passenger vehicle drivers. One of those tips was to make lane changes in a timely manner.
In Pennsylvania, as anywhere else, it is usually harder to prepare a truck accident case than a car accident case, and there are five good reasons for this. First, any case becomes complex the more severe the injuries are. Trucks, being heavier and having a longer stopping distance, crash more forcefully into other vehicles, causing catastrophic injuries and even death.
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance has announced that its annual Operation Safe Driver Week will be held in 2019 from July 14 to 20. Both passenger vehicle and commercial vehicle drivers in Pennsylvania should know that during this event, law enforcement officials across North America will be increasingly on the lookout for unsafe drivers. Those who are stopped may be issued a warning or citation.
Pennsylvania readers may have heard about the tragic Florida traffic accident that took the lives of seven people, including five children, as they were driving to Disney World in January. The victims' vehicle was one of thousands that are struck by large trucks across the United States each year, and the problem is getting worse.
Truck drivers in Pennsylvania may be curious to know the reasons for the trend of increasing truck accidents. Data from the Upper Great Plains Transportation Institute shows that the majority of truck-involved injury crashes in North Dakota arise in the oil region. About 67% from the years 2012 to 2016 occurred in the state's oil counties. This is according to data from the Vision Zero Plan, a statewide initiative to reduce motor vehicle crash fatalities and serious injuries.
The annual International Roadcheck inspection blitz will come to highways in Pennsylvania and across the country on June 4. Every year, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance conducts a high-profile series of inspections to highlight the dangers of poor truck maintenance on the road. Poorly maintained trucks that violate safety rules can lead to drivers losing control and causing severe car accidents, with the attendant injuries and fatalities. Truck accidents can be especially devastating to others on the road in smaller trucks and passenger cars.
Truck accidents are unfortunately a common occurrence in Pennsylvania and around the country. Because of the size and weight of these massive vehicles, other road users face an elevated risk of serious and often fatal injuries. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration statistics indicate that these concerns are well-founded, especially as the last several years show a trend of rising large truck accidents and an attendant increase in fatalities. From 2015 to 2017, the percentage of fatal crashes involving a large truck rose each year, as did the number of fatalities in accidents involving large trucks and buses.
Pennsylvania roadways don't seem to be getting safer despite improved technology. This is according to a Road Safe America report released on Jan. 29. The group analyzed crash data for 2009-2017 and found that 44 out of 50 states saw an increase in big truck crashes. Pennsylvania had one of the highest truck crash fatality rates.
Drivers in Pennsylvania should consider the following safety tips so that they can reduce their chances of crashing into a large truck. According to the U.S. DOT, large truck crashes led to 3,986 fatalities in 2016. More than 65 percent of those victims were the occupants of lighter vehicles. Only 17 percent were truckers.