Truck accidents that occur in California or any other state tend to have a greater potential for injury or death. That's because tractor-trailers can weigh up to 80,000 pounds as opposed to passenger vehicles that weigh about 4,000 pounds. Poor weather conditions are among the common causes of large truck accidents. Roads that are covered in rain or snow can be harder to stop without skidding or sliding.
Large truck crashes led to 3,986 deaths in 2016, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. This represents a 27 percent jump from 2009, and the upward trend appears to be continuing. One expert from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance states that passenger vehicle drivers are to blame for at least 70 percent of all collisions between large trucks and passenger vehicles. For this reason, drivers in California should consider the following safety tips when sharing the road with trucks.
Drowsiness plays a role in about 100,000 motor vehicle accidents throughout California and the rest of the country each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and fatigued tractor-trailer drivers are an especially serious road hazard. About 13 percent of all fatal truck accidents involve a drowsy driver, and strictly enforcing federal hours of service regulations have not been enough to stem the problem.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released data comparing the number of traffic accident fatalities in 2016 and 2017. The number of overall fatalities dropped as well as the number of passenger car accident deaths. The number of traffic deaths in crashes involving large trucks, though, increased year over year. Large truck accidents on roadways in California and across the U.S. are likely to be more severe than other crashes because of the size of the trucks and their momentum at speed.
Commercial motor vehicle drivers in California will want to prepare themselves for the annual Brake Safety Week held by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance. In fact, all drivers should keep their brakes in good working order; improperly installed or poorly maintained brakes will increase stopping distance and raise the risk for accidents, especially rear-end collisions. The CVSA has scheduled its event for September 16 to 22.
California drivers might be interested in the findings of a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration report about truck accidents. The number of trucks that were involved in fatal accidents increased 3 percent from 2015 to 2016; a critical event in 73 percent of these crashes was an animal, object, person or another vehicle crowding into the truck's traffic lane.
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance's Operation Safe Driver Week will take place from July 15 through July 21, 2018. During the week, law enforcement officers from different states will join California's officials in an attempt to identify unsafe driving habits. The alliance will study the habitual practices of truck drivers and drivers of passenger vehicles.
California residents may pursue civil remedies when they are harmed in accidents caused by reckless tractor-trailer drivers or poorly maintained commercial vehicles, but protracted court battles are expensive and a successful outcome cannot be assured. The costs involved in pursuing litigation are often the reason truck accident victims choose to resolve their civil claims at the negotiating table, but settlement offers are generally far lower than the amounts awarded by juries.
The International Roadcheck is an annual inspection spree that the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance conducts across North America, and its purpose is to ensure that commercial truck drivers and bus drivers comply with safety regulations. Truckers in California should know that this year's roadcheck will take place during the 72-hour period from June 5 to June 7.