Commercial truck drivers traveling the roads of North Carolina must comply with many federal safety regulations. Some trucking industry groups, like the American Trucking Association, support changes to existing rules, but they continue to face opposition. Bills circulating currently in the U.S. House and Senate could lower allowable ages for employment as long-haul truckers. In 2018, the Drive Safe Act failed to win congressional approval after the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Association expressed concerns about inexperienced younger drivers.
Truckers in North Carolina know how prone they can be to drowsy driving. A Ball State University has looked at the percentage of working U.S. adults who get inadequate sleep and found an increase from 30.9% in 2010 to 35.6% in 2018. The study, which involved more than 150,000 working adults, was undertaken to find out which professions were most prone to sleep deprivation, and trucking was included among them.
Roadways throughout North Carolina and the rest of the nation are becoming safer. Each year, new technologies in vehicles lead to increased protections for drivers and passengers. However, concerns remain high regarding large semi-tractor trailers. This is because of the sheer size and mass of these vehicles. National Highway Safety Traffic Administration data shows that 4,761 people were killed in crashes that involved large trucks in 2017.
Truck fleet owners in North Carolina may be wondering how they can improve safety among their drivers. The answer seems to lie in the use of advanced vehicle safety technology and the development of a safety-minded culture. This is according to a study that the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute conducted together with Travelers, a property-casualty insurer.
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.