The Washington State Patrol (WSP) has targeted commercial trucks for inspection in their “Roadcheck 2011” initiative. Troopers conducted a 72-hour emphasis patrol and inspected 1,189 in that period. It is definitely disturbing the number of violations they found especially in light of how many trucks are on our roads and highways and how many miles they log.
In conducting the safety emphasis, the truckers looked at critical safety systems and also the drivers and whether they were driving the proper number of hours by checking their logbooks and also insuring they have a commercial driver’s license and medical certificate.
In the 3-day period the WSP actually removed 214 out-of-service due to safety violations. They ticketed another 1,765 truckers for equipment violations.
The WSP didn’t only take trucks out-of-service, they also removed 40 drivers for violations of record-of-duty status, one driver for DUI and two drivers for driving on a suspended license. They also ticketed seven drivers for seatbelt violations.
Large trucks — including tractor trailers, single-unit trucks and large cargo vans — account for a disproportionate share of highway fatalities per mile driven. Large trucks account for a higher percentage of fatal accidents per mile than passenger vehicles even though trucks travel predominantly travel on interstate highways which are the safest roads.
When a truck and a passenger vehicle collide, the people in the passenger vehicle are usually the losers since trucks are so much larger and have a more ground clearance. In 2009, 3,163 people were killed in large truck accidents with 14% of the deaths occurring to the truck occupants, 70% were occupants of passenger cars or trucks and 14% to pedestrians, motorcyclists and bicyclists. There was also a staggering 60,000 people injured in accidents involving large trucks and buses according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. In Washington State, there were 453 fatal accidents involving large trucks and buses with 492 fatalities.
One of the major causes of trucking accidents is braking. It takes loaded truck-trailers 20-40% further to stop than passenger cars and trucks. If brakes are not properly maintained, accidents can and do occur.
Another factor in truck accidents is driver fatigue. The number of hours a trucker can driver is regulated by the federal government which disallows a driver from driving more than 11 hours at a stretch or more than 77 hours in 7 days. Many drivers violate these work rules. To combat driver fatigue, The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is recommending that the daily driving times be cut to 10 hours a day and that total work shift in a day be cut from 14 to 13 hours. It also proposes to create mandatory 30-minute breaks after seven straight hours of drive time.
This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents, including those involving large trucks and buses, and the family of those killed. With our help, you may recover compensation for your damages.