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Ohio Trucking Accidents Blog

Dump truck driver hurt in collision with semi

On July 8, an Ohio dump truck driver was seriously injured when his vehicle collided with a commercial semi-truck. The crash occurred on U.S. 33 near Interstate 75 in Wapakoneta at approximately 9:50 a.m.

According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, the victim was driving his Hirschfield Enterprises dump truck east on U.S. 33 when a Continental semi-truck entered the highway via an on-ramp and cut him off, leading to a collision. The impact caused the semi to roll on its side and damaged the dump truck severely enough to trap the victim inside. It took rescue crews around an hour to extricate him.

Trucking lobby vies for loosening of hour restrictions

Ohio motorists should be aware of the possibility of tractor-trailer accidents when traveling on local highways. That's because statistics from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration show that the number of deadly truck crashes has increased in recent years. In fact, there was a 10% increase in the number of fatal large truck crashes between 2016 and 2017.

Despite these statistics, lobbyists for the trucking industry are pushing for a relaxing of the federal hours-of-service rules. Currently, commercial truck drivers are restricted to only 11 hours behind the wheel during any 14-hour work period. Following this, they must break for at least 10 consecutive hours before starting to work again. Operators who violate these rules are subject to severe penalties that may include being taken out of service for a day.

Five common causes of tractor-trailer accidents

While most large truck accidents in Ohio are caused by the negligence of passenger vehicle drivers, not of truckers, there are still instances when truckers commit an error and cause a crash. Truckers may, for example, drive while drowsy, drunk, drugged or distracted by their phone. Driver error is just one of five common causes of large truck crashes.

The second cause is poor vehicle maintenance. Not only truckers but also their employers must have a regular maintenance schedule because driving with a cracked windshield or with worn brake pads is dangerous. Truckers have the added responsibility of checking their rig before every shift and filling out a vehicle maintenance report.

NHTSA preliminary report: truck crash fatalities rise in 2018

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in its preliminary report for 2018, estimates that large truck accident fatalities have risen 3% when compared to 2017. While this is not as great as the 9% jump experienced between 2016 and 2017, it is still an unfortunate discovery. Ohio residents should know that motor vehicle crash fatalities went down by about 1% in 2018.

Specifically, NHTSA estimates that 36,750 people died in motor vehicle accidents in 2018. At the same time, the number of miles traveled in the U.S. went up that year to 12.2 billion miles: an increase of 0.004%. The report does not give a specific number for large truck crash fatalities. Other areas that saw an increase were bicyclist deaths (an estimated 4%) and pedestrian deaths (10%).

Hair analysis may help detect drug-using truck drivers

In Ohio and across the U.S., many commercial truckers are driving while under the influence of drugs, especially cocaine, opioids and marijuana. The Alliance for Driver Safety & Security has compiled data on drug tests results in the trucking industry and found that the mandatory urinanalysis is not enough to detect drug use. In fact, it captures only 1 in 10 habitual drug users.

The Alliance study illustrates the need for hair analysis as a second mandatory drug test. It states with a 99% confidence level that there are at least 301,000 truck drivers on the road today who would either fail the hair analysis or refuse to undergo it in the first place. The testing could drastically reduce drugged driving.

How to drive safely while near a semi-truck

When you approach certain hazards on the road, you should apply different types of defensive driving techniques to keep yourself protected. For example, you may speed up if you need to pass a reckless driver or slow down to avoid hydroplaning once it starts to rain.

While driving near a semi-truck, there are a set of defensive driving techniques you should use to remain aware and prepared for an emergency situation. Here are just a few of these techniques.

Addressing distractions among commercial drivers

The National Safety Council estimates that distracted driving crashes in the US cause nine deaths and 100 injuries every day. Ohio residents should know that many of these crashes are the result of drivers using phones and in-vehicle tech like voice command and dashboard touchscreens. To raise awareness of this trend, the NSC chose April to be Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

Those working in the commercial driving industry may want to be especially aware of the dangers of inattention. Drivers in this industry go from job to job and have to contend with incoming emails and text messages at the same time. However, with telematics systems, drivers can reduce their distractions. One system can block work orders when drivers are completing one. Another can plan routes, keeping drivers from using their navigation systems.

Andy Young Speaks to Congress' Subcommittee on Trucking Safety

Washington, DC - Trucking safety attorney and truck driver Andy Young testified before Congress' Subcommittee on Highways and Transit at its hearing today (June 12, 2019) entitled "Under Pressure:  The State of Trucking in America."  He advocated in favor of side underride guards for trailers, automatic emergency braking systems for trucks, and higher insurance minimums for commercial motor vehicles.

The complexities of truck accident cases

Truck accident victims in Ohio should be aware that preparing a case against the other side can be a complicated matter: more complicated, in fact, than building up a car accident case. There are several reasons for this. Trucks are large, take longer to brake to a complete stop and thus collide with greater force. The catastrophic injuries and fatalities that are so frequently the outcome of truck accidents make a case more complex.

Then there is the problem of determining ownership and, with it, liability. If the defendant was driving a truck owned by a company, then the plaintiff can file a claim against the company. But many truckers own and operate their own vehicles. If the truck's cargo contributes to an accident, then the plaintiff may need to involve those who loaded it.

Large truck crash deaths rise, several factors involved

Ohio residents should know that 2017 saw a 29-year high in the number of large truck crash fatalities according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The total came to 4,761 deaths with around 1,300 being the truckers themselves. This means that the remaining 72% were the passengers of other vehicles.

Speeding appears to be a factor in this: It's said that truckers are speeding as a way to make up for the time they lose in having to take a half-hour break after eight consecutive hours of driving. This is part of the federal hours-of-service regulations, which state that truckers can drive a maximum of 11 hours in a 14-hour shift.

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