Missouri readers depend on commercial trucks to transport goods in and out of the state. In fact, there are over 15 million commercial trucks operating in the U.S., and they deliver around 70 percent of all food and products used by Americans. However, the downside of this delivery system is that there has been a 20 percent increase in the number of truck accidents over the last decade.
Truck drivers in Missouri and around the country work grueling shifts that can last as long as 14 hours, and remaining vigilant becomes increasingly difficult for them as the hours pass. This should be a concern for all road users as semi-tractor trailers weigh up to 80,000 pounds and require the length of two football fields to come to a complete stop when fully laden even when road and weather conditions are ideal.
Truckers and truck fleet owners in Missouri may remember that the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance held its 2018 Brake Safety Week from September 16 to 22. Inspectors stopped trucks and other commercial vehicles at random as a way to enforce compliance with brake safety guidelines. The CVSA has now come out with the results of this inspection spree.
Truck, bus and other commercial vehicle drivers in Missouri may recall the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance's International Roadcheck back in June. This three-day event consisted of random inspections at various levels to ensure both driver- and vehicle-related safety compliance. The CVSA has released the results of this Roadcheck and noted what the most common violations were.
People on the roads in Missouri may be troubled to learn that poorly maintained brakes are one of the top reasons that trucks are pulled out of service following inspections. Due to the size, mass and weight of large commercial trucks, an accident that involves these vehicles can easily lead to catastrophic injuries, permanent disabilities and even fatalities. Negligent maintenance of brakes can mean that a trucker is unable to stop his or her vehicle, especially in slippery, wet or emergency conditions, causing it to slam into other cars, properties or even pedestrians.
Missouri drivers might be concerned to learn an advocacy group for independent truck drivers is seeking to prevent the federal agency in charge of trucking safety from taking steps designed to reduce the number of drowsy drivers on the nation's highways. Sleep apnea deprives its victims of quality rest and may contribute to sleep-deprived truckers. Proposed regulations would require screening for sleep apnea and potential referral for specialized treatment. Truckers are required to obtain a physical clearing them for driving at least every two years.
A majority of freight delivered in the United States is transported at least part of the way by truck. With over 15 million transport trucks in operation, it's no surprise that improperly loaded cargo is among the leading causes of big rig crashes. Unless truck drivers are adequately trained to inspect their loads, they might not even be aware of the dangers associated with the freight they move across America.
Missouri passenger car drivers need to realize they don't own the road and that they must share it with other vehicles, including big rigs. Traveling alongside an 18-wheeler may seem daunting, but drivers can take steps to make the experience less frightening.
Missouri motorists have good cause to worry about crashes that involve semi trucks. Because of their size and weight, accidents involving large trucks have the potential to cause serious personal injuries and devastating consequences.