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Truck Accidents Archives

Trump administration may make truck safety rules more flexible

Truckers and truck fleet owners in California are divided on the current push to relax federal truck safety rules. Support for more relaxed regulations began to build up in December 2017 when the federal government mandated the use of electronic logging devices on all large commercial trucks. The need to count hours and minutes and the rigid enforcement of hours-of-service guidelines are, for some, the unhappy result of this mandate.

A few common problems lead to truck crashes

Accidents involving large trucks are likely to be more severe than other traffic crashes. While the average passenger vehicle in California weighs around 4,000 pounds, a semi truck could weigh as much as 20 times more. The most common reasons behind truck crashes are driver error, equipment failure and poor truck maintenance.

Trucking industry may benefit from stricter drug testing

The Alliance for Driver Safety & Security has compiled data on the pre-employment drug tests of commercial truck drivers in California and the rest of the U.S., finding that many truckers who are habitual drug users are being accepted. This data is based on a survey of 3.5 million CMV drivers. In all, 301,000 truck drivers on the road today would fail if subjected to a hair analysis.

Commercial fleet and driver safety highlights

The behavior of commercial vehicle drivers in California and other states can have a big impact on how safe the roads are for other motorists and truck drivers. This is why a fleet management systems provider has reviewed driving behaviors of more than 6,000 of its fleet customers. It focused on small and midsize businesses with 2 to 200 trucks.

Multiple factors complicate truck accident injury claims

A crash with a big rig on a California highway can produce serious injuries among passenger vehicle occupants. The sheer size and weight of commercial trucks increase the force of impact. Although truck accident victims might apply the same personal injury laws to collect damages as car accident victims, the cases possess greater complexity.

CVSA Operation Safe Driver Week coming in July

In July, law enforcement officers in California and across the U.S. will be participating in Operation Safe Driver Week. During the event, which is sponsored by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, participating officers will target commercial and passenger vehicle drivers who are engaging in dangerous behaviors, including speeding.

Road Safe America calls for mandatory speed limiters on trucks

On Jan. 28, Road Safe America released a sobering new report showing that large truck crashes have increased in California and most other states over the last eight years. In response to its findings, the organization is renewing its call for the mandatory use of speed limiters and automatic emergency braking systems by the trucking industry.

Safety coalition aims to eliminate traffic deaths by 2050

There are roughly 100 deaths per day on the roadways throughout California and the rest of the country. According to the Road to Zero Coalition, all of these deaths are preventable. That's why the coalition has set a goal of eliminating all traffic deaths by the year 2050. The CEO of the National Safety Council understands that the target date may be ambitious. However, she pointed out that sending a man to the moon seemed like an ambitious goal as well 50 years ago.

Avoiding large truck collisions in California

The U.S. DoT recorded 3,986 large truck crash fatalities in 2016 through its Fatality Analysis Reporting System. When compared to FARS data in 2009, this represents a 27 percent jump in fatalities. Considering the great weight of commercial trucks, it's no surprise that 66 percent of those fatalities were passenger vehicle occupants.

Dump and concrete delivery truck crashes continue to rise

Truck drivers in California may be aware of the rising number of accidents in their industry. Too many truckers are engaging in bad driving habits, including speeding, driving drowsy and talking on the phone while behind the wheel. Some even feel urged to be negligent because of the incentives they receive with every load delivered.

Bill requiring underride guards on big rigs stalls in Senate

A collision with a big rig on a California highway often turns deadly if a passenger vehicle lodges beneath the trailer, especially from the rear. Known as underride crashes, they can decapitate vehicle passengers at low speeds or inflict serious head and neck injuries. In 2011, 19 percent of fatal wrecks involving commercial trucks and passenger vehicles were underride accidents. Federal legislation that would require guards to prevent vehicles from sliding beneath trailers has failed to move past the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

Collision avoidance systems may prevent truck crashes

According to data published by the federal government, there were more than 4,300 traffic fatalities in large truck crashes during the year 2016. That represents a 28 percent increase since 2009. Since the late 1990s, the National Transportation Safety Board has asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at least 10 times to require crash avoidance systems in large trucks operating in California and across the U.S.

Revisions pending for FMCSA's hours-of-service rules

Truckers in California as well as the owners of truck fleets may be interested to hear that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has proposed revisions to its hours-of-service rules. The advance notice of proposed rulemaking was published in August 2018, and the FMCSA is welcoming comments on it until September 24. It is holding public listening sessions at various locations.

Study reveals states where truck drivers are safest

California residents who drive commercial trucks for a living may be wondering which states are the safest for them and which are the most dangerous. Verizon Connect, a fleet management systems provider, has studied this very question. It analyzed the behavior of drivers from more than 6,200 of its fleet customers, including small and mid-size businesses with 2 to 200 light vans, pick-ups and big rigs, between October 2015 and September 2017.

The link between commercial truck drivers and drowsiness

Drowsy driving is a danger that many people in California are familiar with. Drowsiness can impairs judgment, reaction times, cognition and the sense of distance, and if the driver falls asleep, he or she is liable to collide with other vehicles or with pedestrians and even swerve off the road. It's estimated that over 100,000 accidents occur every year in the U.S. because of driver fatigue.

Brake Safety Week plans full Level I inspections for trucks

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance has planned a week-long brake inspection spree for Sept. 16-22. Commercial vehicle operators in California can expect full Level I inspections of their braking systems. The nationwide safety event aims to identify unsafe vehicles and educate all operators about the compliance standards for their brakes.

Startup aims to combat trucker fatigue

Drivers in California aren't the only ones who get anxious around commercial trucks. Over the course of an eight-day workweek, the average trucker puts in about 70 hours, and the resulting fatigue puts them at a higher risk for an accident. Fatigued driving accounts for an estimated 100,000 truck crashes every year. However, a startup founded three years ago in Oklahoma may soon develop software that will help reduce this number and, along with it, the apprehension that other motorists feel around large trucks.

Settling truck accident cases out of court

California residents who suffer injuries in accidents caused by negligent truck drivers or poorly maintained semi-tractor trailers often choose to settle their civil claims at the negotiating table rather than in a courtroom. Reaching an out-of-court settlement allows plaintiffs to avoid possibly protracted and expensive litigation that provides no guarantee of a successful outcome. However, the damages awarded by juries are sometimes far higher than the sums offered by defendants during settlement discussions.

International Roadcheck now scheduled for June

Commercial truck and bus drivers in California should know that the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance has scheduled its annual inspection spree for June 5 to June 7. This 72-hour event is called the International Roadcheck, and it takes place across North America. The CVSA conducts it to enforce compliance with driver and vehicle safety regulations.

Trade group petitions for hours of service reforms

Truck drivers in California and around the country are not permitted to remain behind the wheel after being on duty for 14 hours under current hours of service regulations. However, some trade groups say that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's rules actually encourage drowsy driving and place other road users in danger. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association is one such group, and they have petitioned the FMCSA to allow drivers to reset their 14-hour clocks by taking breaks of up to three hours.

Proposed bill aims to stop truck underride accidents

The United States Congress is currently considering a bipartisan effort to mandate guard rails beneath truck trailers. These safety guards could prevent smaller cars from sliding under the much larger trucks. The proposed bill could have a major impact on trucking companies throughout California and the rest of the U.S.

Truck drivers' arrests often overlooked by agencies

Drug arrests are frequent among commercial truck drivers; even more distressing is the fact that these arrests are often left unreported to the trucking companies. State agencies in California and across the nation often fail to communicate this information, meaning that some convicted drivers are still on the road with a clean record.

Unhealthy truck drivers a danger to the road

Unhealthy truck drivers could be placing drivers in California and across the United States at risk, according to a new study. In fact, truck drivers who suffer from three or more medical issues could be up to four times as likely to crash their vehicles as their healthy colleagues.

Wheel spikes and liability in California

Hawaii is one of the states to take the lead on legislation that aims to eliminate "dangerous wheels" such as wheels with wheel spikes. The statute prohibits any cap, wheel cover, or wheel decoration that extends at least four inches beyond the portion of the wheel rim that extends away from the vehicle.

Sleep apnea screening criteria for truckers will not change

California truck drivers will not be subject to a new set of screening criteria for sleep apnea. On August 4, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issued a notice that it would withdraw an initiative that dealt with these screening requirements. The agency had worked on the rule throughout 2016 in an effort to standardize criteria for sleep apnea screening. There were several meetings and listening sessions held throughout the country, and the agency also sought input from industry organizations.

Obscure factors that may cause truck accidents

California residents may believe that bog rig drivers are often careless while behind the wheel. While some may not be the best drivers in the country, many accidents between large trucks and passenger vehicles are caused by the operator of the smaller vehicle. Distracted driving and other forms of human error are likely to blame. However, there are other factors that may come into play when large trucks and smaller vehicles collide.

Increases in fatal truck accidents

Residents of California may be concerned with the increasing trend of fatal truck accidents since 2009. There are a variety of reasons for these troublesome trends, and they mean more people are likely to be involved in a truck accident. Lawsuits for commercial trucking accidents work differently than normal vehicle accident lawsuits.

Supreme Court denies hearing on trucker case

The refusal of the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a class-action case presented by the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association allows a lower court ruling to stand. At issue was the extent of driver violations shared by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration through the Pre-Employment Screening Program. With the lawsuit's claims of privacy violation dismissed, truck drivers in California can expect any infractions, including minor ones, to be available to truck companies screening potential employees.

New truck driver training standard

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has approved a rule dealing the training of commercial driver license applicants in California and around the country. The rules met with support from trade groups who helped create them. They became effective on June 5, but there is a compliance window of close to three years. Commercial driver's license applicants who receive them on or after Feb. 7, 2020 will be subject to the rule.

Annual International Roadcheck campaign to focus on cargo safety

Motorists in California are more likely to see trucks and buses being pulled over between June 8 and June 10 during the annual International Roadcheck safety campaign. The initiative is organized each year by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance. The nonprofit group says that about 15 commercial vehicles will be inspected each minute during the 72-hour-long effort. Federal inspectors will be looking for violations of federal safety regulations, and commercial vehicles that pose a threat to the safety of other road users are likely to be ordered out of service.

Tests show the effectiveness of side-mounted underride bars

Testing performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety suggests that the mandatory installation of side-mounted underride bars on semi-tractor trailers in California and around the country could save lives. Legislators are currently reviewing regulations that would mandate the fitting of underride bars to the rear of large commercial trucks, but the IIHS tests indicate that these safety features protect passenger vehicle occupants just as well when they are installed on the sides of trailers.

FMCSA panel addresses autonomous truck safety concerns

California residents may be aware that self-driving vehicles may be in their future. With technological advances in vehicle technology, however, come questions and concerns regarding roadway safety. When commercial trucks enter the discussion, safety concerns often escalate.

Fatal large truck accidents on the rise

California motorists might have been in more danger of involvement in a fatal large truck accident in 2015 than in the previous year. In 2015, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there was an 8 percent increase in the number of large trucks involved in deadly crashes compared to the previous year. The FMCSA defined large trucks as weighing more than 10,000 pounds.

CVSA announces 2017 International Roadcheck safety campaign

Truck safety enforcement efforts in California and around the country will be stepped up for 72 hours beginning on June 6. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance announced on March 10 that the yearly International Roadcheck safety blitz would take place between June 6 and June 8, and trade journals revealed on March 13 that the nonprofit group has decided to make cargo safety the focus of this year's initiative. More than 9,000 commercial trucks were inspected during the International Roadcheck campaign in 2016.

FMCSA rule is delayed

Prospective commercial truck drivers in California should be aware that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration issue a notice on Feb. 1, 2017, that delayed the effective date of a new rule that establishes national standards for truck driver training. The delay is due to a Jan. 20, 2017, memo that was issued by the new presidential administration.

NHTSA proposes "driver mode" for phones

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released guidelines to reduce distracted driving in California and across the United States. The agency recommends that cellphone manufacturers create a "driver mode" that blocks many of a phone's distracting functions when someone gets behind the whee of a car or truck.

CVSA announce 2016 Operation Safe Driver Week results

For the past several years, law enforcement agencies in California and around the country have taken part in a week-long initiative known as Operation Safe Driver Week. The goal of the initiative, which the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration have been organizing since 2007, is to reduce the number of accidents involving commercial vehicles, and the results of the 2016 effort were announced by the CVSA in a Dec. 7 press release.

California drivers and autonomous trucking technology

California truck drivers may benefit from autonomous trucking technology in the future, but there are still some obstacles to overcome before widespread adoption can take place. State-based restrictions on autonomous driving technology may interfere with its national adoption since truckers utilize interstate highways. Individual state legislation could prevent truckers from delivering goods across state lines once AT technology becomes commercialized. This could jeopardize a company's ability to send goods across the country.

Recreational pot and truck drivers

The November 2016 elections saw California residents vote to legalize the use of recreational marijuana by adults 21 and over. Three other states passed similar laws, but drivers in every state should note that federal trucking regulations regarding impairment were not affected by the vote. Driving under the influence of any recreational drug is still illegal, a fact that professional truck drivers should remain aware of, experts caution.

FMCSA extends exemption to hours-of-service rule

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration places strict cutoffs for the amount of hours at a time commercial truck drivers can spend driving. The goal of these regulations is to protect road users in California and around the country from accidents caused by fatigued individuals who are in control of vehicles weighing 40 tons or more. The Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association advocates on behalf of companies that transport oversize and heavy objects like huge industrial machines or construction equipment, and they recently asked the FMCSA to grant two exemptions to their hours-of-service rules.

Underride guards can prevent truck accident fatalities

Motor vehicle accidents on California highways can be particularly dangerous when they involve large commercial trucks. These vehicles are much bigger and heavier than passenger cars, and they are designed in a way that could allow passenger cars to roll beneath them. An underride truck accident occurs when a passenger car goes underneath a tractor-trailer from the back or side of the truck.

Regulators propose speed cap for bus and truck drivers

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are seeking to limit the speeds at which large commercial vehicles can travel on highways. California drivers might want to be aware that the regulators would use electronic speed-limiting devices to enforce the cap on vehicles heavier than 26,000 pounds.

Safe Driver Week scheduled for October

Many California motorists are injured or killed in accidents involving other passenger vehicles or commercial trucks. In order to help combat the problem, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance has partnered with local law enforcement agencies to conduct Operation Safe Driver Week from Oct. 16 - 22.

Innovative technology helps trucks avoid rear-end collisions

California truck drivers as well as occupants of other vehicles may be safer on the roadways, thanks to a new technology that will help trucks evade rear-end crashes. Known as the Evasive Maneuver Assist system, it will make it possible for large trucks to detect and avoid smashing into the back of a stopped vehicle.

More truck injury accidents but fewer fatal accidents in 2014

The federal government compiles statistics about every truck accident in California and the United States, releasing a report called the 'Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts" through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration every year. A study of the changes in truck accident statistics from 2013 to 2014 has identified an unusual statistical pattern. The number of fatal accidents declined substantially from the first year to the next. However, the number of truck accidents that caused non-fatal injuries increased dramatically over the same period of time.

Dealing with truck driver fatigue

Commercial truck drivers in California and around the country are subject to federal regulations that prohibit them from operating their vehicles when they are fatigued. The lack of a truly objective test for fatigue has hindered efforts to measure the exact dimensions of the problem, and earlier attempts to impose a standard have been found to violate the drivers' Fourth Amendment rights.

Brake and hours violations take trucks off the road

Nearly 10,000 trucks were put out of service for violations during a June 2015 inspection conducted by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance. California trucking companies and truck drivers are required to adhere to national safety standards. Brake and hours violations were two leading issues that took trucks out of commission. Brake adjustment issues accounted for 15.5 percent of the trucks inspected being put out of service.

The importance of brake system maintenance for truck companies

Many drivers in California become anxious when they find themselves in close proximity to a semi-tractor trailer. These large commercial vehicles can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, and they can cause catastrophic accidents when driven recklessly. Shoddy truck maintenance also endangers other road users, and problems with semi braking systems are particularly hazardous. Trucking companies may face ruinous lawsuits if an accident is caused by defective brakes, but these risks can be mitigated by strictly following inspection and maintenance schedules.

Driver error often the cause of cargo tanker rollover accidents

California drivers are often extremely cautious when they encounter tractor-trailers hauling tanks of dangerous materials like gasoline, crude oil or other flammable cargo. While crashes involving any large commercial vehicle can cause catastrophic injuries, the threat of toxic spills, fires or explosions make accidents involving tanker trucks particularly dangerous. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, more than 1,300 trucks hauling cargo tanks are involved in rollover incidents each year around the country, and more than three quarters of these accidents involve some form of driver error.

New technology allows drivers to

California residents may be familiar with emerging automotive technologies that promise to improve road safety such as self-driving cars and accident avoidance systems, and the electronics manufacturer Samsung has been active in this area. The Korean company has developed a truck safety system that could make passing a semi-tractor trailer less nerve-wracking for drivers, and it has tested the new technology on some of Argentina's dangerous two-lane roads. Samsung chose Argentina because of the number of drivers who are killed or injured each year while attempting to pass large trucks.

A look at some statistics for large truck accidents

Riverside County drivers are familiar with the danger posed by large trucks on California roads, due to the massive size of these vehicles. They may be interested in an article looking at some data on the causes and frequency of fatal truck accidents.

Couple receives $1 million settlement in California accident

According to documents filed with the court, a San Juan Capistrano couple will receive $1 million in a settlement negotiated with a truck driver's estate and his employer. According to documents, the settlement resulted from a collision between the truck driver and a passenger vehicle on Jan. 12, 2012.