In the early 2000s, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration analyzed nearly 1,000 large truck crashes involving injuries or fatalities. The findings were brought together in the 2007 Large Truck Crash Causation Study, a definitive study on what causes truck crashes on the highways. Drivers in New Jersey should know what the study found to be the three most common causes.
New Jersey residents likely take comfort in the fact that sophisticated anti-jackknife technology has been developed and is being used to combat driver error. Unfortunately, not every driver of 18 wheelers or trucks that are towing trailers or boats has access to this technology. Thankfully, there are steps they can take to prevent a jackknife situation.
Truckers in New Jersey may have heard that a bill was introduced that could mandate automatic emergency braking on all commercial trucks. The bill, called the Safe Roads Act of 2019, is seen as providing a "common-sense solution" to the rising number of truck crashes in the U.S., many of them fatal, and it has the support of truck safety groups like the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.
New Jersey motorists may want to know that long-haul truck drivers may soon be allowed to drive longer without having to stop for a rest. The Department of Transportation has stated that it intends to relax the federal regulations that limit the number of hours truck drivers are able to work. This is a development that the trucking industry has been working towards for some time. Opponents of the move assert that loosening the regulations will weaken them to the extent that there will be fatigue-related safety hazards on the road.
According to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System of the U.S. DoT, there were 3,986 large truck crash fatalities in 2016. Approximately 66 percent of the fatalities were passenger vehicle occupants compared to 17 percent who were truckers. One expert has said that 70 percent of all collisions between a large truck and a passenger vehicle are the fault of the passenger vehicle driver. This is why it's important to know how to act around commercial trucks.
In September, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance held its Brake Safety Week inspection blitz in New Jersey and across North America. The alliance reports that inspectors ended up pulling just over 14 percent of inspected trucks from service during the initiative.
When drivers in New Jersey share the road with trucks and other large vehicles, there's a certain expectation of safety. This is because there are rules in place that govern how well-maintained trucks have to be and how long drivers should be on the road per shift. A recent round of mass roadside inspection conducted by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, or CVSA, resulted in nearly 12,000 trucks and buses being put out of commission. During the three-day event, more than 67,000 roadside inspections were conducted with the majority of them being Level I inspections.
The driver of a tractor-trailer ran into another car on Route 515 in Vernon at around 2:40 p.m. on Aug. 10. A 42-year-old woman was in her Chevrolet Tahoe at a traffic light when the truck hit her. Both she and the driver were seriously injured, but they have been released from the hospital.
In New Jersey and elsewhere, distracted driving is a major, dangerous problem. The problem only seems to be getting worse as more drivers have access to smartphones and in-vehicle technology, such as the internet and apps. While many drivers, including truck drivers, do not believe that using their smartphones while driving is dangerous, drivers who are distracted are more likely to cause accidents.
Commercial truck accidents are some of the most serious imaginable, leaving the occupants of passenger vehicles with catastrophic injuries or killing them outright. What's even worse is that commercial truck drivers tend to be the most vulnerable to drowsiness behind the wheel. New Jersey motorists have good reason to be wary around large trucks, as the following will show.