New Jersey vehicle accidents involving large commercial trucks and small automobiles rarely turn out well for the smaller vehicle and its occupants. Even if those in the smaller vehicle survive the truck accident, they will likely suffer serious or catastrophic harm. Remaining safe and injury-free is a goal shared by truckers and other drivers alike, yet crashes still occur, resulting in physical and financial hardships for the victims.
New Jersey allows drivers as young as 18 to obtain a CDL, but it limits those CDL holders under the age of 21 to travel within the state. The same goes for all states with the exception of Hawaii. Now, a bill has been introduced that may do away with this limitation and allow all truckers to travel interstate. A hearing held in February 2020 has explored the concerns with this bill.
A great many truck accidents that occur in New Jersey and across the U.S. are the result of drowsy driving. Fatigue is a hazard that's built into the trucking industry, so to speak, but this is not to say that truckers cannot avoid it. They can do so if they follow the tips below.
There are any number of factors that can contribute to a large truck accident, but a few of them are of relatively recent origin and have not been studied in depth. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration conducted its last large-truck crash causation study between 2001 and 2003, so an update is clearly needed. New Jersey residents should know that just such an update was announced at the start of 2020.
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.