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Articles Tagged with truck accident

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US PS truck contractors are danegrousLast June, 5 people including a baby were killed in a truck accident involving a truck carrying mail for the U.S. postal service. Investigation found that the truck driver who didn’t have a valid commercial license, got distracted and slammed into a car as traffic was slowing down. An entire family was killed. The truck was carrying U.S. postal mail and belonged to Caminantes Trucking from Long Beach, California. Caminantes is one of the many truck contractors that USPS hire to carry its mail across the country.  Investigation of the accident by the DOT indicates that Caminantes has a history of similar violations over the last 10 years.

Five months after the crash, as USPS  continued to work  with Caminantes, a 9News tv investigation looked back at the accident and at the truck company’s troubled past. The investigation found that the truck driver was travelling at 75 mph when it crashed into the back of the car that had slowed down because of traffic and was moving at only 5mph. 9News also checked the federal records of Caminantes and found out that the company was involved in two other deadly crashes over the past two years. 3 drivers were caught without valid commercial licenses. The company also had several violations for drug and alcohol testing. After the deadly accident that killed the family, the company was fined $21,460 by the Federal Motor Carriers Association but continued to carry the mail for the U.S. Postal service. The driver responsible for the accident was not charged and Caminantes continued to operate as well.

Finally after the tv investigation, USPS announced it was reviewing its contract and relationship with Caminantes and said in February that it would stop to work with the truck contractor.

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truckAs more and more truck traffic in the US leads to more and more truck accident fatalities, truck safety activists are pushing for  the government to revise safety regulations and laws related to truck traffic in the US.

5,600 people died in truck accidents in the US in 2021 compared to 4,965 in 2020, representing an increase of 13% from one year to the other.  This is the highest number of truck fatalities ever recorded in the US. Compared to 2010, the number of truck accident fatalities increased by 52%.

The Truck Safety Coalition released a statement pointing at multiple regulations updates that could prevent deadly truck accidents:

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road construction workers143 workers lost their lives on road construction sites in 2016 in America compared to respectively 130, 119 and 105 in 2015, 2014 and 2013. This is the third consecutive year that the number of worker deaths has been increasing.  Over the last 10 years the number of road construction workers dying in crashes has been oscillating between 100 and 130. The average for the last 3 years is 130.7 It is the first year that this number is above 140.

Increased vehicular traffic, distracted driving and increase of road construction projects are among the main causes of this increase in fatalities. In a recent press release the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) urges drivers to be more careful and keep their eyes on the road when they drive near or through road construction zones.

Because of the nature of their activity, road workers and especially highway workers are highly exposed to fatal accidents.  Last year they represented almost 20% of the 765 fatalities that occurred on road construction sites. Drivers and passengers of motor vehicles represented around 80% of the fatalities.

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large truckTruck accidents are on a trending rise in New York City. Last July they reached a record number of 805. It was the first time ever that the number of monthly truck accidents in New York City was over 800.

In the US, 4067 people died in truck accidents in 2015 compared to 3903 in 2014 and 3380 in 2009. Over 6 years the number of fatal truck accidents increased by 20%. From 2009 to 2015, injuries related to truck accidents increased by 50% from 74,000 to 111,0000. Truck crashes were also on the rise during the same period. They increased from 286,000 to 411,000 between 2009 and 2014.

Truck drivers are working long hours and are often pressured to deliver their load on a tight schedule. They often drive above the legal speed limit exposing themselves and other road users to dangerous accidents. According to the NHTSB, speeding, distraction and impairment are the three main factors in truck accidents.

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truck speeding1,000 people die in truck accidents related to speed every year in the US. If truck drivers weren’t able to drive faster than 60 mph, the NHTSA estimated that half of these people would be alive. For almost 10 years most trucks in the world have been equipped with electronic technology that can limit their speed but so far US truck operators have not been legally required to use this system. Few of them are using them. Schneider National, a truck carrier from Wisconsin is one of the only companies to use them on all its trucks for two decades. Traffic safety advocates and industry trade groups have been pushing for truck and bus companies to use this safety device for years.

Finally last month, the NHTSA released proposed rules to mandate electronic speed limiters in all trucks and buses with a weight equal or bigger than 13 tons. The NHTSA is not sure yet if they also want to apply these rules to the vehicles already on the roads. They are also hesitant in the choice of the speed limit. Should it be 68 mph, 65, mph or 60 mph? Traffic safety advocates want the lowest speed because it potentially saves more lives but independent truckers who are paid by the number of loads delivered see the speed limiter as a decrease in their income. They argue that a truck that goes slower than the rest of the traffic also causes risks of accidents.

In the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec, electronic speed limiters are mandatory and must be set at 65 mph. In Europe, electronic speed limiters have been mandatory since 1993 for big trucks of 13 tons and more. The European Commission is planning to introduce the same regulation for smaller trucks as well.

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Underride truck accidentUnderride truck accidents are among the most horrific traffic accidents.  They usually involved a car sliding under a truck, most often a tractor trailer truck.  These accidents are often deadly and gruesome. In many cases, pieces of metal from the truck intrude into the vehicle causing passengers severe  head trauma or decapitation.

Regulations requiring rear impact guards on most large trucks exist but they are 20 years old and in need of a serious upgrade.  Therefore a few months ago the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration  (NHTSA) proposed a new rule to update the Federal motor vehicle safety standards that address rear underride protection in crashes into trailers and semitrailers.

The NTHSA proposal requires that the impact guard be strengthened so that it doesn’t deform if a car crashes into it at a speed of 35 mph. This is basically the equivalent of the actual Canadian standards which are themselves 10 years old. 90%  of American trucks already conform to these standards. Many of them even have protective equipment that is superior to the Canadian standards. Therefore the NHTSA proposal seems obsolete before even being launched and it will not do much to reduce the actual number of deaths and injuries related to underride truck accidents.

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PlanAhead-letterposter-232x300835 sales workers and truck drivers died in traffic accidents last year  according to preliminary data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI). To raise awareness about these accidents and to reduce the number of drivers dying on the job, the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS) is running its annual Drive Safely Work Week. For this year’s campaign, NETS is asking employers to extend driving safety awareness beyond company drivers and to address it to all their employees and their families. Traffic fatalities and injuries are not only causing pain and sorrow to families but they are also causing an economic burden to employers. A recent study demonstrates that in crashes resulting in injury, there is a nearly 1:1 ratio of the cost of on-the-job crashes to the cost of off-the-job crashes i.e. those that take place outside of work hours that also include non-company vehicle driver-employees and their dependents.

The theme of this year’s campaign is “Plan Ahead”. Planning ahead for a road trip whether it takes place on the job or off seems like routine but simple tips such as those that follow can significantlty reduce the risk of an accident:

  • Plan your journey an allow sufficient time to get to your destination without stress
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truck rear ends carNew technologies that can help prevent truck accidents such as  forward collision avoidance and mitigation braking (F-CAM) systems should be mandatory on all new big trucks and buses according to The Truck Safety Coalition, the Center for Auto Safety, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety and Road Safe America. These four lobbyists have sent a joint petition to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to ask the agency to start working on a regulation that would require manufacturers of big trucks and buses to equip all their new vehicles with forward collision avoidance and mitigation braking systems (F-CAM).  When a truck or a bus  is equipped with a Forward Collision Warning System, the driver is warned by a signal that he is getting too close to a “target” in front of him and if he doesn’t react, the Collision Mitigation Braking (CMB) will automatically apply the brakes  to reduce the impact speed or prevent the collision. The F-Cam system integrates both these technologies. This system has been studied by the NHTSA for a decade now. More recently the NHTSA also published a complete evaluation of the installation of F-Cam system on medium to heavy commercial vehicles that shows the benefits of such a system.

According the the most recent statistics, more than 100,000 people suffer personal injury in truck accidents and close to 4000 of them are dying every year. A large portion of these crashes are rear-end crashes in which the large truck is the striking vehicle that crashed into another vehicle on the roadway.  While every new manufacturer is proposing the F-Cam system on their new new trucks, only 3 % of the trucks on the road are equipped with it. Making this equipment mandatory seems to be the only way to achieve widespread implementation.  Download a PDF of the Petition for Rulemaking



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truck%20inspection.jpgRoadside inspections can be effective at reducing the number of large truck accidents. However police officers are often reluctant to do it because they are concerned about the safety of pulling the truck over or because they do not understand the documentation involved.

To solve to this issue the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance have put together a national program to train officers on safely conducting truck and bus stops, properly verifying documentation and being familiar will all violation types.

The program will be launched on February 17th.

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To prevent truck accidents and keep the roads safe between Mexico and the US, Congress prohibited the FMCSA to allow long-haul cross-border transportation of cargo and passengers between Mexico and the USA – as provided for in the NAFTA agreement in 1992 – until certain safety requirements were met and a pilot program for granting long-haul authority to Mexico-domiciled motor carriers has evaluated the potential impact on safety.

The pilot program was recently completed by the FMCSA. A recent audit of this pilot program by the Office of Inspector General found that even though the pilot was well run and followed all necessary steps and conditions, it lacked an adequate number of Mexico-domiciled carriers to yield statistically valid findings.

The complete audit report can be downloaded here