The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance instituted the International Roadcheck several years ago as a way to crack down on certain common violations among bus and commercial truck drivers. This three-day inspection spree occurs once a year across New York and the rest of the U.S. as well as overseas. The 2018 Roadcheck has just wrapped up; it took place from June 5 to 7.
When drivers in New York share the road with large trucks, they may be concerned about the consequences of a collision involving one of these massive vehicles. When a fatal crash takes place involving both a passenger vehicle and a semi-truck, the fatality is a person in the passenger car up to 97 percent of the time. Even when everyone survives the crash, the injuries and property damage suffered can be significant. This is especially true when trucks of such size and mass are involved.
The number of fatal crashes involving large trucks increased by 3 percent from 2015 to 2016 according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Vehicles, people or objects encroaching into a truck's lane were contributing factors to 76 percent of those accidents. These accidents were most likely to happen on rural areas of New York and other parts of the country.
The advocacy group for tractor-trailer owner-operators, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), has recently filed a petition with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration seeking changes to so-called 'hours of service" regulations. The FMCSA is responsible for issuing regulations on the number of hours a day a tractor-trailer driver can be on the road. These changes could affect the safety of all New York drivers.
Each year, more than 200 Americans die when their vehicle slides beneath the side of a tractor-trailer truck. These types of accidents, called "side underride" collisions, are especially deadly because they can shear off the top of the car, causing severe head trauma to the driver and passengers. To address the issue, Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida have proposed a bipartisan bill that could prevent such accidents.
Truck accidents in New York and around the country often involve overloaded semi-tractor trailers or commercial vehicle drivers who failed to adequately control their fully laden vehicles. Loaded tractor-trailers can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds without violating state or federal safety laws, and that amount of weight traveling at highway speeds can cause catastrophic damage to passenger vehicles.
New York drivers may be reluctant to share the road with big rigs. Their unwieldy size and propensity for moving back and forth between lanes can make driving on busy highways and roads nerve-wrecking. However, there are some things people can do to make driving alongside the large vehicles safer and more comfortable.
A new Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration mandate now requires that all commercial trucks be equipped with electronic logging devices. ELDs are already in use among large truck carriers like FedEx and UPS; however, many trucking companies in New York and across the U.S. are protesting the change.
A study by AAA has analyzed the effect of four safety technologies: lane departure warning systems, automatic emergency braking, air disc brakes and video-based onboard safety monitoring systems. These devices are meant to reduce the crash risk of commercial trucks in New York and across the U.S., and their benefits may be more than safety related.
At the first annual North American Commercial Vehicle Show in Atlanta, brake manufacturing company Bendix unveiled a range of products and updates that could drastically decrease truck accidents. Many trucking companies in New York and elsewhere in the U.S. are taking note.