Accidents caused by fatigued tractor-trailer drivers can cause catastrophic injuries, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration tries to reduce the number of these crashes by strictly enforcing hours of service regulations. These rules set limits on how long truck drivers can spend behind the wheel before taking a break, but industry groups such as the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association say that they may be placing road users in Illinois and around the country in danger.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association petitioned the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in August 2017 to take action against states that had not brought their laws current to include updated safety regulations. Commercial truck drivers in Illinois may be interested to know that the mandate to have an electronic logging device is still not being enforced in some states because they are unable to do so legally.
Approximately 70 percent of all freight tonnage transported in the United States is moved by trucks. The manner in which that freight is loaded could be putting lives at risk and creating liability for trucking companies and their cargo owners. Improperly loaded freight is one of the leading causes of trucking accidents, and unless drivers inspect their cargo, they might be unaware of the increased rollover risks associated with improperly loaded freight.
Big rig accidents usually do not end well for cars. In 2014, for instance, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that 68 percent of all truck accident fatalities were car occupants. That's why drivers, no matter where they are, should know how to stay safe around trucks.
Illinois motorists may be concerned about sharing the roadways with large trucks and buses. These massive vehicles carry specific safety risks, not only for themselves but also for others on the road. The inherent danger of large semi-trucks can be accentuated when truck drivers are fatigued or overworked.
Study results released in January 2017 suggest a continued need to investigate the correlation between poor driver health and the increased risk of a trucking crash, and motorists in Illinois and other states may want to take note. Although the research is focused on risk as it pertains to commercial truck operators, results indicate that accidents involving commercial trucks may negatively impact other vehicles and their drivers. According to the senior author of the study, which was conducted by University of Utah School of Medicine researchers, the health status of commercial truckers could ultimately affect the safety of occupants of other vehicles.
Accidents caused by fatigued truck drivers injure Illinois road users each year, and road safety advocacy groups have long called for government regulators to establish more rigorous sleep apnea testing to combat the problem. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration proposed a rule change that would mandate testing for drivers in categories likely to develop the condition, but the agency announced in August that the proposal had been withdrawn.
Semi-tractor trailers are a familiar sight in Illinois, and many drivers become tense and nervous when they are in close proximity to them. These fears may be rooted in the knowledge that car and SUV drivers generally fare poorly in collisions with commercial vehicles, and data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reveals that almost 70 percent of truck accident fatalities in 2014 were passenger vehicle occupants.
Drivers who believe that safety on the roadway is paramount may be interested in knowing more about factors that play a role in the number of commercial trucking accidents that occur nationwide. In Illinois and other states, day of the week, time of day and speed limit have been recognized by at least one online publication as contributing factors to an increasing number of fatalities related to large commercial trucks and their drivers.
Effects of the Trump administration's reluctance to implement new regulatory actions are reverberating throughout the trucking industry, and motorists in Illinois and other states across the nation may want to know more. In June 2017, the DOT quietly withdrew an ongoing sleep apnea screening rule with no indication of when the mandate might next be pursued. One month later, the U.S. Department of Transportation has backed away from the pursuit of a rule concerning the use of speed limiters.