Since buses and trucks are among the largest vehicles commonly on the road in North Carolina and many other states, it's understandable for extra efforts to be made to ensure that such vehicles are properly maintained. This is why the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance performs annual random inspections, the most recent of which resulted in more than 12,000 trucks and buses and nearly 3,000 drivers being placed out of commission. During a three-day period, more than 67,000 inspections were conducted, with most of them being level I inspections.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, as truckers in North Carolina know, is the agency that sets up rules regulating the trucking industry. Among its most important rules are the hours-of-service rules. However, the FMCSA announced in August 2018 that it was considering several revisions to the HOS rules, laid out below. It is seeking input on the proposed revisions until September 24.
A North Carolina man has been charged with three counts of misdemeanor death by motor vehicle in connection with a fiery crash in Johnston County that claimed the lives of three people on the afternoon of Aug. 29. A North Carolina Highway Patrol representative said that felony charges were not filed against the man because he was not impaired by drugs or alcohol at the time of the crash and did not attempt to flee the scene. The accident took place on Interstate 40 near mile marker 319.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has recently conducted research into why large truck accidents happen on North Carolina and other roads. Safety defects with the vehicles themselves and long driver hours were two of the main reasons why they occur. In fact, a truck with a significant defect was three times more likely to get into an accident than those without them. Research showed that a violation of any kind could raise the risk of an accident by 50 percent.
Truckers in North Carolina should know that researchers from the University of Kentucky have conducted a study about how fatigue-related commercial vehicle crash rates are affected by proximity to rest areas. The results were published in Accident Analysis & Prevention in November of 2017.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's Compliance, Safety and Accountability program is designed to ensure that truck operators in North Carolina and around the country properly maintain and repair their vehicles, but the system used to calculate safety scores has been criticized. Trade groups accused the FMCSA of using incomplete data and misleading the public, and Congress answered their calls in 2015 by requiring the government safety watchdog to revise its CSA rules with the passage of the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act.
Passenger vehicle drivers in North Carolina and around the country should drive more carefully around large commercial vehicles according to a poll of the nation's truck drivers. The fleet management services company Teletrac Navman invited commercial vehicle drivers to share their thoughts about improving road safety during a month-long contest, and impatient passenger vehicle motorists cutting them off or squeezing into small gaps in traffic was their most commonly cited concern.
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance has announced that its Brake Safety Week will take place from September 16 to 22. Certified personnel will conduct inspections of commercial motor vehicles to identify vehicles with brake violations and remove them from the road. North Carolina is part of CVSA's Region II. Poorly maintained or improperly installed brakes on commercial vehicles increase the danger to drivers.
Truck drivers in North Carolina have demanding jobs. This is why hours-of-service regulations require that they rest after working 14 hours. Mandatory breaks could counteract fatigue, which causes many accidents every year. Records at the U.S. Department of Transportation show that close to 33,000 citations were written in 2017 against truckers who exceeded the legal limit of work hours.
Commercial truck accidents can be a frequent occurrence in North Carolina. Unfortunately, they happen to be one of the most devastating types of accidents. Approximately 97 percent of truck accident fatalities are the occupants of passenger vehicles. If they do survive, the occupants often come away with serious, long-term injuries. Even cuts and lacerations can leave scars and some form of psychological problem.