On July 17, two members of the U.S. House of Representatives introduced a bill that would make automatic emergency braking systems standard on all new commercial large trucks sold in the US. The purpose of the legislation is to reduce injuries and deaths from truck accidents in North Carolina and across the country.
The American Transportation Research Institute has an article on the six most important research topics for 2019, and one of them is has to do with the benefits of new truck safety technology. In particular, ATRI wants to revise the way it determines the technology's return on investment. Many fleet owners in North Carolina avoid safety devices because of their steep price, and a better cost-benefit analysis may help such people warm up to them.
It isn't uncommon for commercial truck drivers to experience a condition called obstructive sleep apnea. Drivers who have the condition are five times more likely to be in an otherwise preventable crash compared to those who have sought treatment for it. In addition to putting their own health and safety at risk, they could be putting other North Carolina road users at risk as well.
Members of the Truck Safety Coalition, a nonprofit organization, have been pushing lawmakers to improve current safety regulations on commercial trucks. North Carolina residents should know that, in particular, they are calling for a law requiring automatic emergency braking on all commercial vehicles.
Many truckers in North Carolina and other states have an honest desire to operate their vehicles safely. Even so, drivers are under pressure to meet deadlines and complete hauls to meet the demand for goods. An accident that occurred in early 2019 has led some individuals involved with the trucking industry to call for a re-evaluation of safety and training procedures.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there were 4,237 large truck crashes that resulted in fatalities and 344,000 large truck crashes that led to injuries in 2017. Drivers in North Carolina should be aware of commercial trucks on the road as these large trucks can cause catastrophic accidents.
Commercial vehicles in North Carolina and around the country that weigh more than 26,000 pounds would be required to use devices that limit their top speeds to 65 mph if a bipartisan bill introduced recently in the U.S. Senate becomes law. The Cullum Owings Large Truck Safe Operating Speed Act of 2019 also calls for trucks already equipped with speed limiters to have the devices set to 65 mph, but it would not require truck operators to install the technology in older tractor-trailers.
North Carolina residents may have heard that the driver of a truck hauling a trailer of cars that crashed into a group of motorcyclists in New Hampshire has been arrested in a case that may result in both criminal and civil proceedings. Seven people were killed and several others injured in the June 21, 2019 crash. The truck driver was arrested on June 24 and charged with seven counts of negligent homicide.
For the most part, drivers of commercial trucks in North Carolina strive to do their jobs safely. Working long hours on the road involves many risks. When a fleet management systems provider asked truckers to describe their top safety problems, getting cut off in traffic by passenger vehicles was their top concern.
Most North Carolina motorists go about their daily driving tasks with little concern or trepidation yet are, on some level, aware of the risks of accidents. Although road safety is regularly promoted through public awareness campaigns, the number of accidents nationally continues to climb and is, by most estimates, in excess of 6 million incidents every year. Thankfully, most accidents are relatively minor, involving no personal injury and clear liability, but truck accidents present a different set of challenges than a more typical scenario involving two passenger cars.