Large trucks make up only a fraction of the vehicles on Washington’s roads at any given moment, but 97 percent of fatal large truck crashes take the life of a passenger vehicle occupant, motorcyclist, or pedestrian – not the truck driver. About 10 percent of all deaths on the road each year involve a large truck accident, even though only four percent of registered vehicles on U.S. roads at any given time are large trucks.
Several qualities of large trucks make them more likely to cause serious injuries or death in a crash, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). At a maximum weight of 80,000 pounds, a fully-loaded tractor trailer may weigh 20 to 30 times as much as a passenger car. They are also taller and have greater ground clearance, which makes them more prone to rollovers and exposes smaller cars to the risk of an “underride” accident, in which the smaller vehicle slips underneath the larger one. Read the rest »
A chain-reaction car accident on Interstate 5 near Federal Way claimed the life of a truck driver and sent several other people to the hospital with injuries, according to a recent article in the Renton Patch.
Investigators from the Washington State Patrol say the initial cause of the multi-vehicle crash was the driver of a Nissan, who lost control of his vehicle and struck the barrier between opposing lanes of traffic on I-5. A second car hit the back of the Nissan, pushing it back into the traffic lanes on the interstate. A tractor-trailer that hit the second car veered off the highway, rolled over, and hit a sound wall. The load of aviation fuel in the trailer’s tank caught fire, and the driver was unable to escape the accident alive. Read the rest »
From 2006 to 2010, large truck accidents claimed nine lives within the city of Seattle. Bike crashes in Seattle also caused nine deaths during those years. These numbers put both bicycle accidents and large truck accidents in the same priority category as motorcycle accidents, work zone deaths, and fatal accidents involving aggressive drivers. Read the rest »
Two people were injured recently in an accident involving a small car and a tractor-trailer, according to an article in the Yakima Herald.
Investigators believe the accident occurred when the driver of the semi truck failed to stop at a red light at the intersection of US 97 and West Wapato Road in Wapato. Instead, the truck barreled through the intersection and slammed into a Plymouth Neon being driven by a 23-year-old local man. He and his 21-year-old passenger were taken to local hospitals for treatment of their injuries. Read the rest »
When a semi truck collides with a passenger vehicle, the results are almost always worse for those in the car. Teens stand a particular risk of a semi accident because they often lack the experience to recognize or predict a truck’s movements, according to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Association (CVSA). Here are some tips to help teens and older drivers protect themselves when sharing the road with trucks this summer.
- Bigger vehicles move differently. Whether it’s a semi truck, box truck, passenger bus, or other vehicle, larger vehicles need more room to stop, turn, and accelerate.
- Trucks need twice the room to stop. A passenger vehicle going 55 miles per hour needs about 225 feet to stop under ideal conditions, once its driver sees a hazard. A fully-loaded semi truck needs over 430 feet to make the same stop. Read the rest »
Sleep is a crucial part of human health and well-being, and according to the National Sleep Foundation, too many U.S. adults aren’t getting it.
When sleep is poor or a person tries to cut hours of sleep, serious health problems can result. So can fatigue or sleepiness, which can cause serious accidents – especially if the person is responsible for driving a vehicle, operating heavy machinery, or paying careful attention to equipment, processes, or facts that could result in serious harm if something goes wrong. Truck and bus drivers are particularly at risk for driver fatigue that causes accidents, since they often spend long hours behind the wheel and may not get adequate rest when they do stop to take a break. Read the rest »
A new regulation from the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) went into effect on January 3, banning commercial truck and bus drivers from using hand-held cell phones while driving.
The regulation is based on studies the FMCSA conducted over the previous year showing that truckers who hold onto their cell phones to make calls or look up information while driving sharply increase their risk of causing an accident. It follows a regulation imposed by the FMCSA last year which prohibits drivers from texting while behind the wheel of a semi truck or bus. Drivers are still allowed to use hands-free devices to talk on cell phones while driving, and they may pull over to use a cell phone or send a text message. Read the rest »
New data on truck inspections in Washington state indicates that some of the most hazardous commercial vehicles on the road are originating from the Port of Seattle each day. According to reporting by King 5 News, the Seattle Department of Transportation (SDOT) is responsible for conducting safety examinations on over four thousand commercial trucks that service the area. Shockingly, records show that for years SDOT only employed two professional vehicle inspectors to perform this task.
One Washing State Patrol officer told the news channel that the examinations that were conducted were of a very poor quality, and in many cases they may not have been conducted at all. What causes this lack of civic performance? The officer told King 5 News that the issue is related to fierce industry competition with neighboring west coast ports and pressure to transport freight quicker and at a lower cost. He also criticized the port commission for failing to pass the proper regulations that rank safety standards above industry contest. Read the rest »
When you’re driving a passenger vehicle, most semi trucks are considerably larger and heavier than you are. If a crash involving the truck occurs, your car and the people inside it are more likely to suffer serious damage than a large and heavy tractor trailer. Help keep yourself and your passengers safe by following these tips, courtesy of the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Cutting in front of any vehicle forces the vehicle’s driver to brake or swerve quickly to avoid a crash. However, large trucks have greater momentum and take much longer to slow down or stop than the average car or truck does. Leave plenty of space when merging in front of large trucks so that they do not have to slam on the brakes or swerve, risking a crash. Read the rest »
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) requires most tractor-trailer drivers hauling cargo across state lines to follow the federal Hours of Service (HOS) regulations. These regulations dictate how long a driver may drive before taking a break, and how long breaks must be before the driver can get behind the wheel again. One of the purposes of the HOS requirements is to prevent drivers from becoming fatigued, which is a major cause of truck accidents.
Under the HOS requirements, most truck drivers may only drive within the 14-hour period that starts when they first come on duty. Once this 14-hour period is up, the driver must not drive for at least 10 hours before he or she gets behind the wheel of a tractor-trailer again. However, drivers may not drive for the entire 14 hours. Rather, drivers may drive for a maximum 11-hour stretch, and those hours must occur within the 14 hours that begin when the driver comes on duty. Drivers may do other work after their driving time limits are up, such as loading, unloading, cleaning the truck, or doing paperwork, but they may not drive. Read the rest »