In todays fast-paced economy, 18 wheeler drivers are put under an incredible amount of pressure to deliver goods across the country in a timely manner, no matter what it takes. Time is money, and the faster you drive to deliver, the faster you risk an accident.
The National Center for Statistics and Analysis reports that thousands of motorist are killed each year by large trucks — those weighing more than 10,000 pounds. 18-wheelers, semi-trucks, tractor-trailers and semis fall into this category. Over 20,000 injuries were sustained nationally, with nearly 3000 of them occurring in Texas alone (www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811552.pdf)
Causes of 18 wheeler trucking accidents can include:
- Tire problems and failure
- Over corrective steering
- Brake failure
- Mechanical problems from missed maintenance
New regulations beginning July 1, 2013, will require that truckers drive no more than 11 hours a day after 10 hours off duty, and require time in the sleeping compartment be logged.
The reality may be that a driver’s performance is measured on how quickly they deliver to meet deadlines, which means rules get bent. And while over achievement can be a positive, it’s dangerous if it means putting other drivers or themselves at risk of an 18 wheeler accident.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Rules and Regulations, published December of 2011:
“The goal of this rulemaking is to reduce excessively long work hours that increase both the risk of fatigue-related crashes and long-term health problems for drivers. A rule cannot ensure that drivers will be rested, but it can ensure that they have enough time off to obtain adequate rest on a daily and weekly basis. The objective of this rule, therefore, is to reduce both acute and chronic fatigue by limiting the maximum number of hours per day and week that the drivers can work. The rule reduces a driver’s average maximum allowable hours of work per week from 82 hours to 70 hours, a 15% reduction. The 15% reduction in the average maximum allowable hours of work based on the new rule results from the restrictions on the use of the restart period”.
Every trucking accident carries a cause, and liability, whether it’s faulty maintenance, a weary driver, or road conditions, and generally major property damage, serious personal injuries, and even Wrongful Death, may follow.
Maybe by enforcing the new policies, the amount of accidents across the country can be reduced.