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Truck driver safety

Tractor-trailers make up a fair amount of traffic in and around Rochester. Their larger size, especially at highways speeds, is intimidating to people in smaller vehicles.

To keep their commercial driver's license, truck drivers have to obey special rules set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. These rules intend to keep truckers from getting into accidents. Do these regulations work or do truckers find their way around them?

Sobering statistics

In 2017, the U.S. Department of Transportation statistics painted a dreary picture around truck versus vehicle fatalities. A staggering 12 percent of vehicle passenger deaths, roughly 3,461, occurred as a result of a collision with a truck. About 1,300 truck drivers died in roadway crashes. While the rules set forth by the FMCSA intend to make driving a tractor-trailer safer, 2017 saw a 2 percent uptick in the number of trucker-related accidents.

Most common rules and regulations

Both the federal and state governments monitor truck driver rules and regulations to ensure the safest possible roadways throughout the country. Among the standards set by the regulating entities, truck drivers must follow:

  • Strict licensing requirements
  • Electronic logging of trips
  • Hours in service
  • Loading, securing and unloading hauls
  • Drug testing
  • Physical abilities and special driver training

The hours-of-service regulation has gotten the most attention as accidents in the past resulted primarily due to driver fatigue. Drivers paid on the number of hauls achieved in a specific period often push the limits of hourly driving. To combat driver fatigue, the FMCSA and state authorities set a limit on the hours a driver could operate before taking an appropriate break. Trucking companies installed electronic logging devices to help monitor drivers and ensure they follow protocol.

Even with new regulations, truck accidents still occur. People who find themselves in a crash with a tractor-trailer should make sure they get all the information necessary to file a claim and get medical treatment.

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