Many people in Pennsylvania worry about getting home safely when they take to the road, especially if they are traveling on highways with large numbers of semi-trucks. While truck drivers are often safer operators than the public as a whole, the size, weight and volume of large trucks mean that crashes involving them can be particularly catastrophic or even deadly. People in other vehicles are far more likely to be seriously injured in a crash involving a tractor-trailer. There are several factors that can make serious trucking accidents more likely on the road.
Every year, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance designates one week as a time for increased enforcement of traffic laws. In 2019, that week-long initiative known as Operation Safe Driver Week was held between July 14 and 20. Both passenger vehicle drivers and commercial vehicle drivers in Pennsylvania and across the U.S. were pulled over and either warned or cited for traffic violations. The results were as follows.
Ball State University conducted a study involving more than 150,000 working adults in Pennsylvania and across the U.S. In 2010, 30.9% of these responded that they experienced inadequate sleep: that is, less than seven hours of sleep a day. In 2018, that percentage rose to 35.6%. Researchers were able to find out what professions had been most impacted by sleep deprivation, and trucking is in the worst four.
With more than 3.5 million truckers in Pennsylvania and across the U.S., it's not surprising that some accidents involve large trucks. There are a number of ways in which truckers can cause accidents that other drivers should be aware of. Below are eight of the most frequently reported causes.
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.