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Westlake Trucking Accidents Blog

Operation Safe Driver Week to begin on July 15

Motorists in Ohio and around the country can expect to see semi-tractor trailers being pulled over for safety inspections in mid-July. That is because the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance will be holding its annual Operation Safe Driver Week in the United States and Canada between July 15 and July 21. During the seven-day road safety initiative, law enforcement will be on the lookout for unsafe commercial vehicles and dangerous driving behavior, and commercial vehicle inspectors will check the brakes and other safety systems of thousands of tractor-trailers.

Truck drivers who exceed posted speed limits, do not use their turn signals or fail to maintain safe distances can expect to receive particular attention during Operation Safe Driver Week. A study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration found that 88 percent of truck accidents and 93 percent of all passenger car accidents are caused by driver errors. Police officers pulled over and ticketed 38,878 commercial vehicle drivers during Operation Safe Driver Week in 2016.

Using technology against distracted driving

Technology devices such as GPS settings, smartphones and radios can all be sources of distraction while driving. However, Ohio drivers may be able to use certain technologies that can help prevent distracted driving.

Fleet companies have been collecting vehicle data for years to determine what type of adverse events occur in their trucks. The data that they use can also be useful for forecasting risky or distracting situations in which collisions can occur.

Long commutes prior to work could add to truck driver fatigue

Truck drivers in Ohio often work long hours, and their commutes prior to their work shifts have the potential of increasing their fatigue. The fatal truck accident in June 2014 that killed comedian James McNair and seriously injured actor Tracy Morgan highlighted the role of long commutes in truck driver fatigue. The truck driver who allegedly fell asleep before crashing into the actor's vehicle appeared to have slept only 4 hours during the 33 hours before the accident. He had driven 800 miles to get to work and start his shift as a driver for Walmart's private trucking fleet.

This high-profile accident alerted the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to the potential dangers of long commutes. The Walmart driver had been within hours of service limits at the time of the crash but apparently impaired by sleep deprivation. As a result, the agency has proposed a survey of commercial drivers that would investigate commute times. Regulators hope to gather responses from at least 500 truck and bus drivers about their commuting, work schedules, break times, demographics and miles driven every year.

Coalition to work to stop traffic fatalities

The Road to Zero Coalition, an organization that was formed in part by the National Safety Council, aims to lower the number of traffic-related road deaths by 2050. The coalition, which has 675 members, published a report in April 2018 that provided an outline for how the United States can lower the occurrences of traffic fatalities to zero. According to the CEO of the NSC, in order to completely eliminate traffic deaths, new technology, a dedication of resources and leadership will have to be a part of the solution.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administrations states that there has been an increase in the number of fatalities related to motor vehicle accidents. This is after many years during which the number was declining. In 2016, the number jumped to 37,461, a 5.6 percent increase.

Informal settlements for truck accident victims

In Ohio, as in all states, the victims of commercial truck accidents can file a personal injury lawsuit against the company that hired the responsible trucker. If their claims are successful, they could be compensated for losses like vehicle repair costs, medical bills and lost wages. Arriving at that successful conclusion, however, can take a lot of time and money.

This is why many victims opt for alternative dispute resolution and try to reach an agreement with the trucking company out of court. Negotiation, mediation and arbitration are the most widely known ADR methods. Since it is a confidential process, ADR can make the other party less defensive.

PTSD is a reality for many victims of truck accidents

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is commonly associated with wartime experiences. However, it is also a reality that negatively affects countless victims of truck collisions. The experience of a rapidly occurring accident causes physical pain and damages. But, what about the psychological aftermath of surviving a traumatic accident?

The mind can be a fragile place with many triggers based on past experiences. If you or a loved one is a survivor of a roadway truck crash, you may have a significant increase of fear and anxiety getting behind the wheel again. It is not uncommon for individuals with PTSD to suffer from severe panic attacks along with debilitating anxiety. Any thought or action related to the crash can spike harmful psychosomatic responses.

Wearable technolgy being adapted to combat driver fatigue

Almost three-quarters of the products purchased by consumers in Ohio and around the country are transported using large commercial vehicles, and tractor-trailer drivers commonly spend up to 70 hours behind the wheel during a typical workweek to keep up with this demand. Truck driver fatigue has been a road safety issue in the United States for decades, and even strict hours of service regulations are not enough to prevent about 100,000 accidents each year involving drowsy tractor-trailer drivers.

A startup technology company formed by University of Oklahoma graduates aims to address the issue of truck driver fatigue by using the sort of wearable devices favored by fitness enthusiasts. BlyncSync is developing a range of products similar to the heart monitors and calorie counters worn by joggers to monitor how often truck drivers blink, nod their heads or yawn. These devices are designed to be connected to logistics companies or dispatchers and send alerts when truck drivers may be becoming dangerously drowsy.

Filing a trucking accident claim

The average commercial truck weighs 25 times more than the average car. Therefore, the occupants of the latter will generally face more serious injuries when the two collide. Victims of such crashes in Ohio will want to know what they can do to receive compensation for damages.

For starters, it's important to prove that the commercial truck driver was at fault. While commercial trucks are involved in a fair share of fatal accidents (according to the U.S. DOT, large trucks were involved in 4,995 fatal crashes in 2006), truck drivers are often not to blame. Accidents can be caused by unforeseen road hazards or by the negligence of other drivers.

CVSA schedules annual International Roadcheck

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance has announced that the 2018 International Roadcheck will take place from June 5 to 7. This annual inspection spree of commercial trucks and buses across North America is meant to ensure compliance with driver and vehicle safety guidelines. Anyone in Ohio to whom this inspection applies will want to know the details.

The inspections are conducted at random and are frequent: About 63,000 vehicles were inspected in the 2017 International Roadcheck, which came up to an average of 15 vehicles every minute during the 72-hour event. Out of those 63,000 drivers, 15,000 were issued out-of-service orders by inspectors. Approximately 12,000 were for vehicle-related violations, such as non-compliance with brake and cargo weight regulations, and 3,000 were for driver-related non-compliance.

Truck accidents happen for a variety of reasons

Everyday after work, you take the same route home. Without fail, this route has gotten you home safely week after week, month after month, and year after year. But on this day, something is different. The truck that you're approaching seems a bit erratic out on the road. And sure enough, as you pass by, the truck swerves uncontrollably and crashes into you.

Truck accidents like this happen every day, and they can cost people their livelihood, if not their lives. The injuries a victim can suffer after a truck accident are numerous and terrible, ranging from broken bones and severe lacerations, to paralysis and loss of limbs. The injuries are often fatal in nature.

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