Truck drivers face many risks while traveling on Illinois highways, and fatal crashes involving commercial vehicles weighing in excess of 10,000 pounds have increased according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The agency's 2015 report showed that 8 percent more trucks were involved in deadly wrecks compared to the previous year.
Between June 6-8, according to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, the International Roadcheck inspection blitz will be looking at commercial trucks from Illinois and throughout the country with a focus on cargo securement. These will be North American Standard Level I inspections. These are the most thorough inspections available, and they examine both the truck and the driver. While cargo securement is already a part of them, the hope is that the additional emphasis will bring truck drivers' attention to its importance.
Technology companies are working hard to make autonomous trucking viable. If successful, trucks traveling the highways of Illinois might be operated by truckers based at home or in an operations center. The co-founder of one such company, Starsky Robotics hopes to improve working conditions for truckers and allow them to enjoy more time at home.
Illinois residents who drive a truck for a living or who know someone who does might be interested in a study that showed how the risk of accidents quadruples for commercial truck drivers who have three or more health issues, compared with healthier ones. The study was conducted at the University of Utah School Of Medicine.
Illinois drivers may be interested in learning that a truck driver training rule that was set to go into effect on Feb. 6 was delayed by the Trump administration. The agency responsible for implementing the rule has postponed its effective date until March 21 so that it could be reviewed, potentially delaying it even further.
Modern cellphones are marvels of technology, but they have also been linked with a surge in the number of distracted driving accidents in Illinois and around the country. Studies have found that young people find it especially difficult to tear themselves away from their cellphones while behind the wheel, and just a brief glance away to read a text message or look at a photograph can lead to tragedy. In late 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a set of guidelines designed to tackle the problem, and they include a request to cellphone makers to include features that are designed to keep drivers focused on the task at hand.
Highway safety advocates fear that the incoming Trump administration may shelve a government rule that would electronically limit the speeds of tractor-trailers traveling in Illinois and nationwide. The rule was published last August, and a public comment period ended in December.
Illinois motorists might be interested in learning that Republican lawmakers in Congress have for now blocked trucking safety regulations that were meant to keep fatigued truck drivers off of the road. The American Trucking Association indicated that it will return to lobby when the Republicans are in control of the legislative and executive branches of the federal government in order to try to get additional safety regulations repealed, blocked or rolled back.
Motorists who travel daily on Illinois' freeways are probably aware of the dangers of driving near large commercial semitrailers. Just one wrong move by an 18-wheeler traveling at high speeds, and a catastrophic multi-car crash could occur.
Illinois drivers may be interested to know about the information released by the American Transportation Research Institute regarding autonomous trucks. According to the report, autonomous trucks will transform the trucking industry by initiating significant regulation reform, producing a new workforce, and improving safety and efficiency. Because automated trucks require human operators, truck drivers will also still have job security.