Young & McCarthy LLP

Westlake Trucking Accidents Blog

4 Dangers of rural truck driving

While it may seem like a lack of traffic would make rural areas safe to drive in, 62 percent of all fatal large-truck crashes occur in rural areas, according with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTS).

With Ohio being one of the top ten states with the highest average of fatal large truck accidents, it’s extra important that you understand the potential dangers of rural truck driving if you live or drive truck through Ohio.

1 in 8 Ohio crashes involves a tractor-trailer truck

According to the Ohio Department of Public Safety, one out of every eight fatal crashes in the state involves a tractor-trailer truck. However, the report places most of the blame for these accidents on the drivers of passenger vehicles.

The report found that 70 percent of collisions between semi-trucks and cars occur because the driver of the smaller vehicle engaged in some sort of dangerous driving behavior. These behaviors include cutting a truck off, slamming on the car's brakes and distracted driving. Traffic safety experts note that large trucks can weigh over 40 tons, which makes it impossible for them to come to a quick stop in the event of an emergency.

Logo liability in commercial trucking crashes

When an Ohio motorist is injured in a trucking accident, they may wonder which parties are responsible for the conduct of the truck driver. The injuries caused by truck accidents can be devastating, requiring expensive, long-term care. In order to cover the costs associated with a truck accident, it may be necessary to pursue compensation from the responsible parties. Responsibility for negligent or dangerous driving can go far beyond than just the driver.

Logo liability can help to determine who is responsible for the damages caused in a trucking accident. The issue becomes relevant when a commercial company that transports freight, goods or people for compensation makes use of leased trucks and drivers. This type of company could also use independent contractors instead of employees. Traditionally, businesses can be held accountable for an employee's conduct but not for that of an independent contractor. Federal regulations were created to close this loophole for trucking companies that try to escape liability for extensive damages caused by truck crashes.

Technology helps trucking companies prevent distracted driving

Ohio residents may think of cell phone use or sophisticated navigation and entertainment systems when the subject of distracted driving is raised, but studies have found that motorists who are lost in thought could be an even bigger danger. This is an especially serious problem when the vehicles involved are semi-tractor trailers that can weigh as much as 40 tons. The commercial trucking industry has turned to the technology sector and smartphone makers to help them tackle the issue.

The freight management company Omnitracs recently added a module to its online Driving Center that is designed to alert truck drivers or their employers about possible drowsy or distracted driving situations. The module uses hours of service data to monitor how long truck drivers spend behind the wheel, and it sends warnings when they begin their shifts after only brief rest periods or remain on duty after spending hours negotiating heavily congested city streets.

FMCSA announces CSA revision plan

Trucking companies in Ohio and around the country have long been critical of the Compliance, Safety and Accountability initiative from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and Congress ordered the government watchdog to improve the program in 2015 by passing the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act. Legislators took action after trade groups said that the CSA relied on shoddy data and alarmed members of the public with unfair and misleading safety scores.

The FMCSA proposed a series of CSA reforms in 2015, but a report published by the federal agency on July 4 suggests that this strategy has now been abandoned in favor of proposals made by the National Academies of Science. According to the report, the FMCSA will now focus on developing a new and fairer scoring system, seek to improve the quality of the data that's used to generate these scores and make the whole process easier to understand for both carriers and the public.

Will emerging tech improve commercial trucking safety?

With the onset of automobiles and paved roads in the early 20th century came commercial trucking. Since commercial trucking’s debut, their presence has been a necessary evil on the roadways. While there is no doubt that our society relies heavily on the goods delivered by trucks, there is also no doubt that they are extremely dangerous.

What's involved in a large truck crash

A recent study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows that 69 percent of fatalities in large-truck accidents are the occupants of smaller passenger vehicles; only 16 percent tend to be truck occupants. Ohio drivers will want to act very cautiously around trucks and know what signs of danger to look out for.

The following are some of the most common factors in truck accidents: distracted driving, drowsy driving and poor truck maintenance. Truckers can become inattentive to the road as they eat, text or make calls. They can become drowsy after working long hours and may even violate the federal hours-of-service regulations or ignore mandated rest periods in the effort to meet a deadline.

Trucking driving and safety

Ohio residents who operate commercial and work vehicles should be aware of the importance of safety while driving. A fleet management systems provider conducted an examination of the driving behaviors of over 6,200 fleet customers. The data was obtained from a two-year period spanning October 2015 through September 2017 and included information regarding small and midsize enterprises that had two to 200 trucks, along with various other types of vehicles, such as light vans.

For the assessment, the company considered the number of fatalities for vehicle miles traveled, the average speeding events for each mile and the average speeding events for each day. The results indicated that the safest states in the country for the types of commercial vehicle drivers were located along the East Coast, despite its numerous traffic issues in and around the I-95 corridor and other areas. The 10 safest states, beginning with the safest, included Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, New Hampshire, Washington and Virginia.

Truck crash takes Ohio woman's life

Interstate 90 was shut down in a section of Ohio on July 1, 2018, after a fatal truck crash started a fire in the large semi-truck. The highway was closed between State Route 11 and State Route 45 after the fire erupted following a collision between the semi-truck and a passenger vehicle, a Chevrolet Cobalt. At least one woman died as a result of the crash, while two more vehicle passengers were taken away in air ambulances to Cleveland hospitals for urgent treatment.

The 74-year-old woman killed in the fatal truck accident and the two seriously wounded people were all in the Chevrolet Cobalt, driving westbound on the highway. The semi-truck, traveling in the opposite direction on I-90, suddenly crossed the median and struck the passenger car head-on. After colliding with the car, the truck continued to drive in the wrong direction along the highway before hitting the guardrail and bursting into flames. Both a driver and a passenger were inside the semi-truck and both escaped with no injuries.

Brake inspection for truck drivers set for September

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance will be conducting a nationwide brake inspection spree for the week of September 16 to 22, so commercial truck drivers in Ohio will want to make sure that their brakes are properly functioning. The CVSA stresses the importance of brakes in providing efficient braking and in maintaining public safety on the roads.

Brake Safety Week is just one of many inspection sprees held by the CVSA, but brake violations are frequently cited in all of these sprees. For instance, the International Roadcheck, a three-day spree that occurred in early June, led to many out-of-service orders for brake violations. During last year's brake inspection blitz, which lasted one day rather than one week, 14 percent of truckers who were pulled over were put out of service for violations.

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