Pennsylvania drivers are encouraged to exercise extra caution when driving on the freeway during the winter months and especially during the busy holiday season. Recent statistics point to an added reason for this extra caution. There has been an increase in serious accidents that involve dump trucks as well as ready-mix concrete delivery trucks. This increase is seen as part of an ongoing problem that centers around bad driving habits.
A semi truck with failing brakes can pose a serious safety risk to other motorists on the Pennsylvania roadways. Despite the fact that brake maintenance is critical for trucks to safely navigate the roads, safety violations involving brake issues continue to top the list of problems found by inspectors. In an inspection blitz for Brake Safety Week sponsored by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), over 14 percent of all trucks inspected were taken off of the roads due to safety violations involving brake systems. The week, carried out in September 2018, marked the CVSA's latest effort to draw attention to brake maintenance issues.
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance held its annual International Roadcheck in June. The three-day event ended with 67,502 roadside inspections being conducted across North America, the results of which have just been released. Truck fleet owners in Pennsylvania may be interested in learning about the more unsafe trends.
Truckers in Pennsylvania may be interested to know that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently proposed several revisions to the hours-of-service rules. The agency is now fielding comments until September 24 and conducting public listening sessions at various locations before finalizing any of the revisions. The following are just a few of the proposed changes.
For drivers in Pennsylvania, truckers with poorly maintained brakes present a real hazard on the road. The size, mass and weight of commercial trucks mean that when these vehicles crash, the effects can be particularly devastating. Of course, brakes that are negligently maintained present a serious threat because these trucks may be unable to stop properly, especially in slippery or rainy conditions or in an emergency situation. An out-of-control truck with nonfunctioning brakes can easily be the cause of a serious tragedy on the road.
A new report called the 2016 Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts shows that the number of commercial trucks involved in fatal crashes rose by 3 percent in the year in question. This was published by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the agency that regulates the U.S. trucking industry. Truckers in Pennsylvania will therefore want to know more about this increase and what the FMCSA thinks is causing it.
Traffic fatalities may drop in the years ahead for Pennsylvania drivers if the efforts of one transportation safety coalition are successful. The 675 members of the Road to Zero Coalition hope to completely eliminate traffic deaths by the year 2050. In 2016, the number of traffic fatalities rose 5.6 percent from the previous year to 37,461.
Truckers in Pennsylvania often face grueling hours behind the wheel. They might work as many as 70 hours in eight days, and their weariness too often contributes to truck accidents. At least 100,000 crashes every year happen because truckers get sleepy. A new technology company founded by recent university graduates plans to help truckers with safety glasses that measure their blinks. The glasses would alert drivers when their blinking patterns indicate drowsiness.
The current hours of service regulations for truckers should be changed to allow drivers in Pennsylvania and around the country to split up their shifts with breaks lasting up to three hours. At least that's what the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association claims. The industry group has filed a petition requesting the change with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. In addition, OOIDA is asking the federal agency to eliminate a 30-minute break that tractor-trailer drivers must currently take during their first eight hours on duty.
Pennsylvania drivers may be interested in learning that a measure that would require all trucks to have guardrails installed on their trailers went through Congress. Called the Stop Underrides Act of 2017, the measure would make underride guards, which are optional safety measures, legally required.