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drivers in categories likely to develop the condition, but the agency announced in August that the proposal had been withdrawn.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.
Illinois drivers who are concerned about road safety may be interested to learn that over 9,500 inspections took place during Brake Safety Day in North America. Almost 2,000 trucks were placed out of commission due to violations during the unannounced event.
Five months after it was supposed to take effect, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's rule about national standards for drivers is now law. The rule was delayed because of Trump administration-ordered regulatory reviews. However, although it took effect on June 5, there are almost three years before it must be followed. The rule will apply to drivers in Illinois and throughout the country who receive a commercial driver's license on or after Feb. 7, 2020.
Before International Roadcheck draws to a close on June 8, Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance enforcement inspectors are expected to have checked an average of 15 commercial vehicles per minute over a 72-hour span for possible safety violations. The inspection event takes place each year on roadways in Illinois and throughout the United States and Canada. In 2016, 9,080 trucks and 1,436 drivers were placed out of service during the CVSA inspection.
Illinois residents might be interested in news about expected changes in the trucking industry. In an effort to find more effective methods for drug testing of drivers, five senators are pressuring the Department of Health and Human Services to issue official guidelines for using hair instead of urine for drug testing. Their concern, the senators explained, is that the lack of guidelines has prevented the Department of Transportation from issuing approval of this drug testing method for the trucking industry.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has conducted what it says are the first tests designed to evaluate the safety benefits of side-mounted underride guards. Federal lawmakers are considering regulations that would make the fitting of rear-mounted underride guards to semi-tractor trailers in Illinois and around the country mandatory, but the IIHS says that side-mounted underride guards could also save lives and should be required as well.