The 2019-2020 Most Wanted List of Transportation Safety Improvements released by the National Transportation Safety Board should be of interest to truck fleet owners in West Virginia. Six of the 10 listed items address safety issues in the commercial trucking industry. For example, distracted driving is a serious issue among truckers, and the NTSB wants to see it eliminated. It encourages states to ban the non-emergency use of handheld electronic devices save for navigators.
In West Virginia and throughout the country, the trucking industry is experiencing more and more accidents. This is due to the prevalence of bad driving habits like speeding, distracted operation and fatigued driving. All of these issues have been compounded with the lure of by-the-load incentives.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires that commercial truckers take a 30-minute rest break after eight consecutive hours of driving. Many in West Virginia and across the U.S. complain that this rule is inflexible and that the result is more truckers speeding to meet deadlines. Some also say that if they could drive straight through their 11-hour shift, they would not be so drowsy by the end.
Automatic emergency braking systems are either standard or optional equipment on many of the passenger vehicles available in West Virginia and around the country, and car makers have vowed to equip all of their vehicles with this potentially life-saving technology by 2022. However, few semi-tractor trailers are fitted with such systems despite evidence suggesting that they are highly effective and an alarming increase in truck accident fatalities over the last two decades.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is responsible for implementing hours-of-service rules for commercial truck drivers. In August 2018, the agency published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking listing several potential changes to the HOS rules. Truckers and the owners of truck fleets in West Virginia may be happy to see some of the changes under consideration. Below is a summary of them.
In West Virginia and across the United States, many people may not realize that distracted driving is often the cause of major truck accidents. These accidents can result in pain and suffering, lost wages, serious injuries and even permanent disability for victims.
Two fleet management systems providers have come up with some interesting data that should be of interest to truckers in West Virginia as well as the drivers who get wary around them. Verizon Connect conducted a study of driver behavior with more than 6,200 of its fleet customers in the effort to determine which states fared the best for work vehicle safety.
Between September 16 and 22, drivers of commercial motor vehicles across the nation will be stopped for brake inspections. This is part of Brake Safety Week, an annual event held by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance. The CVSA has long been raising awareness of brake-related violations, so drivers in West Virginia will want to make sure their brake systems were properly installed and continue to be properly maintained.
Accidents between large commercial trucks and passenger vehicles usually do not turn out well for the occupants of the smaller vehicles. It is these occupants who die in 97 percent of fatal truck accidents. When they survive, they are often left with serious physical and emotional trauma. Residents of West Virginia may want to know what the most common injuries are.
New safety software may be just what truckers in West Virginia and the rest of the U.S. need to overcome the challenges inherent in their profession. With more than 3 million truckers out there carrying 70 percent of the nation's cargo, the trucking industry is essential to the economy. Unfortunately, tight deadlines and long workweeks make truckers susceptible to fatigue behind the wheel. It's estimated that 100,000 truck crashes occur each year as a result.