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Pilot Project Aims to Provide Truckers with Rest Stops

Sunday, October 19, 2014

One of the biggest reasons why truckers continue to drive even while they're fatigued and too sleepy to drive is because they do not have access to a safe place to pull over and rest. If a driver does find a truck stop, he may not have a vacant parking spot at the stop. A new project that has been kick started in Minnesota aims to provide targeted information to drivers about available vacant parking spots in the truck stop coming up on their route.

The project has been kicked off by the Minnesota Department of Transportation, in collaboration with researchers at the University Of Minnesota. The project involves a system that provides truckers real-time information about vacant parking spots at trucking stops along their route. That gives truckers valuable input they will use to decide whether to drive on, or pull over at the parking area.

The system uses cameras that scan truck stops, and finds out how many vacant spots are there, relaying this information to the Department of Transportation website and also truckers. However, for the trucker to receive this information, his cab must be wired to receive those alerts. It's too early to tell whether the project will be successful in helping reduce sleepy driving, and the accuracy of the system will grow to 95%.

Fatigue driving by truck drivers is a contributor to trucking accidents in Burbank, and a serious transportation safety problem that affects not only the safety of the truck driver, but also other motorists on the highway. However, the fact is also that there are several reasons for fatigued driving, including violation of Hours of Service rules, long journeys, and too-long routes. Merely helping the truck driver locate a parking spot or a truck stop may not help, if the driver is being encouraged by the employer to violate Hours Of Service rules, and drive beyond the legally permissible hours.

Feds Must Keep Non-Compliant Trucking Companies off the Road

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Truck drivers who drive beyond the maximum permissible work hours, may be at risk of fatigue, and this is significantly increases their risk of being involved in a potentially devastating truck accident. The federal administration must do more to take companies that allow, and even encourage, drivers to violate Hours of Service rules in this manner, off the road.

That advice came from outgoing National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah Hersman. According to Hersman, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration must do more to ensure that companies that do not comply with the Hours of Service regulations, are penalized, and even shut down if they continue to violate the rules. The outgoing NTSB head expressed her frustration, that in far too many cases, trucking and bus companies were being forced off the road only after their violations resulted in a serious accident, and not before.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration must increase oversight over companies that have violated Hours of Service rules, placing them under a stringent process of monitoring to ensure that they don't break the rules. Companies that violate rules must be penalized heavily to ensure compliance. Unfortunately, all of this remains on paper, and in practice, far too many commercial motor carriers are allowed to continue breaking rules placing them as well as motorists on the road at serious risk of being injured in an accident.

Driver fatigue is a major contributor to trucking accidents, and is widely believed to be a highly underestimated factor in tractor-trailer and semi rig accidents in the United States. That's because a driver who dozes off at the wheel causing an accident, is highly unlikely to admit that he dozed off which makes accurate recordkeeping more difficult. The actual number of accidents related to driver fatigue may be much higher than the official statistics show.

Younger Truckers More Prone to Substance Abuse

Friday, October 25, 2013

Alcohol and drug abuse by truck drivers is a serious problem that increases the risk of accidents, and endangers the safety of motorists and truckers. Drugs like alcohol and marijuana slow down driver reflexes, increasing the risk of a truck accident.

Amphetamines can have a severe effect on a driver’s health, increasing his chances of suffering a medical condition at the wheel.A new study into the incidence of substance abuse among truck drivers finds that younger truckers may be more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol.

The study, which was based on a review of existing studies, was conducted by Brazilian researchers who analyzed the conclusions of 36 studies from across the world. Most of the studies were based on surveys of truck drivers.

The review finds that the drug that truck drivers most frequently abuse, is alcohol. This is followed by amphetamines, marijuana and cocaine. However, there seemed to be plenty of variation in the results. The rate of drinking alcohol on the job ranged from 1% of truckers to 91%. The rate of amphetamine use ranged from .2% to 82.5% , and the use of marijuana ranged from .2% to 30%.

Some categories of truckers seemed to be at a much higher risk of abusing drugs and alcohol on the job. For instance, younger truckers showed a much greater susceptibility to drinking on the job, while truck drivers who drove for longer trips as part of their jobs were also more likely to drink or take drugs.

Besides these categories, truck drivers who drove more at night, drank alcohol, got fewer hours of rest, were paid below the union-recommended wages or were paid based on their job performance, were also much more likely to be impaired on the job.

Connected Trucks Spell Next Level in Safety

Friday, August 16, 2013

In the near future, heavy duty as well as light duty trucks may be able to communicate with other trucks as well as other vehicles in the vicinity that are equipped with similar vehicle communication technology. These vehicles may be able to transmit data that can result in an accident warning for a motorist or a truck driver. The technology has the potential to save many lives every year.

The National Transportation Safety Board recently focused on connected vehicle technologies, or vehicles that transmit data using Wi-Fi technologies. In these vehicles, the technology is contained in a device that can be mounted inside the vehicle either on the dashboard, or as part of the car’s components. The device can also be inserted as part of the smartphone.

The technology will transmit data signals with similar technology in other vehicles that are also equipped with the same devices. Once the data has been received, these devices can deliver appropriate warning signals, cautioning the driver to apply the brakes, or to slow down speeds. The warning may be delivered in the form of a glowing light, an audible alert, or a vibrating of the steering wheel. Those details will be left to automakers to implement. In the future, all vehicles will be able to communicate with each other, and this will substantially help reduce the risk of accidents except those caused by drunk drivers.

What is really important for Sherman Oaks truck accident lawyers to learn however is that now that the National Transportation Safety Board has recommended that the federal administration start working on standards for the technology, it could ultimately lead to a mandate for such technology in all vehicles.

A City Bus Slams Into A BMW After Being Forced Out of It's Lane By A Dump Truck

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

An accident involving a Metro bus, a BMW sedan and a runaway dump truck occurred on the 7600 block of Hollywood Blvd. on Tuesday morning at about 8 a.m. Many injuries were sustained, but fortunately no fatalities were reported.

The bizarre accident started when an unattended dump truck wildly rolled down the street, heading right toward the bus. The bus driver apparently reacted by trying to avoid the truck, swerving into the eastbound lanes, where he struck the BMW. The BMW was occupied by a mother and her ten year old daughter, on their way to the girl’s school.

The BMW was struck by the bus, which pushed the car back quite some distance.

The collision caused the mother to be trapped in the car, where she remained for at least 20 minutes until firefighters were able to conduct an emergency release procedure and cut her free. The mother was hospitalized in serious condition and suffered a fractured left leg. Her daughter, fortunately, was able to escape from the crunched car. She was taken to the hospital as well but was treated only for minor injuries.

At least 17 bus passengers were taken to local hospitals for examination and treatment of injuries. Some passengers were treated for cuts that were sustained as they escaped through shattered emergency windows. The bus driver was also hospitalized, where he was listed in fair condition. 

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