Articles Posted in Truck Accidents

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An accident with a tractor trailer truck most often ends up causing catastrophic if not fatal injuries.  Driver fatigue is a major factor in the thousands of trucking accidents that occur in and around Georgia as well as around the country ever year.  To combat this, it is crucial that truckers get a chance to rest and get refreshed during their workday, and trucking groups are now calling for rest facilities to be expanded.

President Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure package allocates millions of dollars for transportation spending.  Trucking groups as well as driver advocates are calling on the administration to use some of that money and invest it in the expansion of truck stops for drivers. Truck drivers often drive long distances that they are expected to travel all alone. That can increase the risk of fatigue and tiredness. Besides, truck drivers are mandated to drive only for a fixed number of hours before they are required to rest. The problem is that appropriate rest facilities are hard to find. You can hardly park a massive 80,000- pound tractor trailer by the side of the road. Designated truck stops have not just parking facilities where truckers can park their vehicles for a few hours while they sleep, but also offer food, refreshments and other facilities.

The American Trucking Associations and the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association are calling on Transportation head Pete Buttigieg to allocate funds for the expansion of these facilities around the country. They claim that as many as 98 percent of truck drivers find it hard to find a good truck stop or rest area for them to rest before they commence driving.  They say they spend almost an hour away or more trying to find safe spots, instead of resting.

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Trucking accidents almost always result in serious injuries.  Driver error can play a major role in commercial trucking accidents in and around the Atlanta region.  A new federal administration’s rule that applies to entry level truck driver training standards went into effect in the month of February.  It’s intended effect is to help curb the number of errors made by truck drivers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s new rule applies to entry level drivers who want to make a profession as a truck driver. The rule is called the Entry Level Driver Training rule, and went into effect on February 7. The rule sets the basic minimum baseline requirements for entry level truck driver training programs.

The new rule will apply to any entry level drivers who want to obtain a class A or class B commercial driver’s license, drivers who wish to upgrade their current license from a B to an A level, or wish to obtain bus and hazardous materials endorsements.  The rule requires that entry level drivers who want to operate commercial trucks professionally go through the training providers that are listed on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s website. This listing of providers went online recently. Once a driver selects a provider from the listing, he must undergo the training program before he appears for the CDL skills test. If the driver is applying for an endorsement for hazardous materials for the first time, he needs to undergo the knowledge test.

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Commercial delivery trucks have been working overtime to fulfill the large volume of online orders and commercial business.  More commercial trucks on the roads usually brings with them more risks of trucking accidents, especially as more drivers take to the roads in the upcoming holiday season.  Georgia authorities recently took steps to ensure safe driving practices by commercial truckers to keep everyone on the roads safe.

The SafeDRIVE (Drive Distracted Reckless Impaired Visibility Enforcement) is an initiative by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and is carried out on a quarterly basis in collaboration with state and local law enforcement partners.  In Georgia, the SafeDRIVE enforcement blitz was carried out between October 5 and 7 this year. As part of the Georgia initiative, the Motor Carrier Compliance Division of the Georgia Department of Public Safety conducted enforcement initiatives along popular trucking routes, including I- 75, I -95 and I- 85.  More than 400 citations were issued to truck drivers across Georgia as part of a law enforcement initiative in collaboration with the federal administration in order to keep our highways safe and prevent truck accidents.

It was a three-day campaign, and hundreds of truck drivers and their commercial trucks were pulled over during the campaign. The campaign resulted in extensive monitoring of common truck driver errors, including following too closely, distracted driving and driving under the influence of alcohol. As part of the initiative, truck drivers were also cited for rash and aggressive driving and driving beyond the speed limits. These are common trucking driver mistakes that can increase the risk of the truck being involved in an accident that endangers not just the truck driver, but also occupants of passenger vehicles involved in the accident. In any accident involving a large commercial truck and a passenger vehicle, it is the occupants of the smaller vehicle who may be at a higher risk of suffering injuries, and therefore, it is important for law enforcement to conduct such regular enforcement campaigns to weed out bad drivers and keep the highways safer for all.

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The trucking industry and other related parties are promoting a bill that would reduce the minimum age for commercial truck drivers to operate in the United States. There are risks that a proposal like this, if rushed into, could possibly increase the risk of accidents involving tractor- trailers and semi rigs.

Trucking activity across the metro Atlanta region has spiked since last year, when there was a surge in the volume of online deliveries and shipping needs.  While the trucking industry serves a vital function, having more numbers of trucks on our highways will only increase the risks of commercial truck accidents.

The trucking industry says that a shortage of licensed drivers is a major challenge currently facing the sector. To deal with this shortage, the industry is calling for the minimum truck driver age, which currently stands at 20, to be lowered to 18, to drive a truck as part of interstate commerce. The DRIVE Safe Act, is currently pending in Congress and is aimed at allowing interstate driving for commercial truck drivers between 18 and 21.

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This April, transportation safety authorities in Georgia conducted a campaign drawing attention to the high risks facing construction workers in work zones.  It’s also equally important for truck drivers to be aware of these risks.

Large trucks are involved in a significant percentage of the total number of accidents that occur in American work zones every year.  The last week of April this year was commemorated as National Work Zone Awareness Week to draw awareness to the special risks facing construction workers working in these zones. In 2019, which is the last year for which data on these types of accidents is available, there were a total of 842 accident deaths occurring in work zones across the United states. That was a significant increase from the 757 fatalities in work zones that occurred in 2018.

Truck accidents account for a significant percentage of these types of accidents. While truck accidents constitute approximately 5% of all vehicular traffic, they are involved in a staggering 33% of all accidents that occur in work zones.  The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is specifically calling on commercial truck drivers to look out for construction workers in work zones, and follow all safety protocols while driving through these zones.

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The federal administration has denied a petition by a business group for extension of the hours of service and electronic logging rules that apply to truck drivers travelling with their pets.

The group, Small Business Transportation Coalition, had submitted a petition to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. In the petition, the group requested exemptions for truck drivers from two of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s mandates, including the mandate for electronic logging devices on all trucks as well as the Hours of Service requirements.

According to the petition, drivers travelling with pets should be exempted from the Hours of Service requirements and be permitted to drive for up to 13 hours during their shift. That would be beyond the current truck driving limits imposed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. According to the petition, truck drivers benefit from travelling with their pet companions, as this helps relieve boredom and loneliness during long journeys. Longer driving hours would actually help these drivers drive slower, because of the various activities like feeding and walking that they would have to perform in connection with the care of their pets. According to the petition, these drivers would, therefore, need more than the normal hours in order to complete their shifts.

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Truck drivers are more likely to be male than female. However, female truck drivers are much less likely to be involved in accidents, compared to male drivers. That information comes from a new study conducted in the United Kingdom, which found that eliminating gender inequalities in the trucking profession could go a long way in helping keep our roads safer.

The researchers analysed accident data for 6 different types of vehicles, and found that in at least 5 of those types of vehicles, the risk posed by male drivers was greater than those presented by females.

In the case of cars and vans, the risk posed by male drivers was double the risk posed by female drivers, and  in the case of commercial tractor trailers, the risk posed by male drivers was as much as 4 times higher than the risk posed by female drivers.  The risks are staggeringly higher when it is a female behind the wheel of a truck.  The risks are also dramatically higher when a male rides a motorcycle, with the risk shooting up by ten times compared to a female.

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The use of safety technologies has helped reduce the number of people being killed in auto accidents across the country. Federal transportation safety officials believe that the same goals can be achieved in the field of trucking safety as well.

Officials representing various federal transportation safety agencies are of the opinion that advanced driver assistance systems that have been so useful in helping reduce the number of accidents killing motorists in the United States, can be of great help if these are applied to heavy vehicles as well.

During a recent virtual trucking safety summit, representatives of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Highway Administration as well as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration voiced their belief that the use of improved safety technologies in commercial trucks could help bring about the same kind of safety results as has been seen in automobiles.

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has relaxed the truck driver drug testing requirements that trucking companies are required to comply with in the wake of the unique circumstances brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, it has decided to provide companies with reasonable flexibility if they are unable to completely comply with the federal agency’s drug testing requirements during the pandemic. That flexibility comes as a result of the difficulties trucking companies are currently facing in conducting the random drug testing that they are required to under federal laws.

Trucking companies are still required to conduct random drug testing of truck drivers based on the typical testing rate. They must test at least 50% of drivers for drugs and 10% of all their drivers for alcohol. However, in cases in which trucking companies are unable to conduct the random drug and alcohol testing required under the law, certain relaxations have been allowed.

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A group of lawmakers has introduced a bill that addresses a pressing need of commercial truckers. The bill, which includes funding for expansion of parking areas, has been welcomed by the trucking industry in Georgia and drivers, especially during the recent times.

Access to safe parking areas is a serious safety issue in the trucking industry. According to federal trucking safety regulations, truck drivers are required to stop driving after a certain number of hours and rest. During these periods of rest, they must park their trucks in safe spaces and get the required minimum rest time before they can begin driving again.

Unfortunately, lack of access to safe parking has been a serious safety issue in the trucking sector. When a driver cannot find a safe and convenient place for him to park his truck, he is more likely to continue driving even beyond the maximum number of hours set by the federal administration. This can have serious consequences because a truck driver who is tired and fatigued, is much more likely to fall asleep at the wheel of the truck. Accidents involving drowsy or tired truckers are not uncommon. In fact, trucker fatigue is a major factor in truck accidents in Georgia and around the country.

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