Compared to cars, pickup trucks and SUVs, 18-wheeler trucks or big rigs are so much bigger and heavier, making smaller vehicles look like dwarfs when placed beside these. The size and weight of trucks, though, while serving as advantages in transporting large and tons of goods and so many other types of products that help fuel the economic growth of the US also serve as road threats since even a single mistake by their drivers can result to a tragic accident wherein total damage to properties and severe injuries or death are the very possible results.
That trucks transport goods that keep businesses alive is a fact that cannot be disputed. A mere delay in their operations can lead to results that will negatively affect the smooth flow of business. Thus, to make sure that these enormous road machines get driven as safely as possible, different government agencies work together by creating and enforcing laws that will guarantee that only qualified drivers are behind the wheel and that these drivers do not feel sleepy or fatigued, are never under the influence of alcohol and never distracted, especially during cross-county drives.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which is mainly responsible in making sure that commercial motor vehicles are operated safely, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) make sure that:
- Those applying for a commercial driver’s license undergo the required special training and pass the test prepared by the FHWA to qualify for the license applied for
- Truck drivers are equipped with a Bluetooth headset to end their unrestrained use of cell phone, which is a major driving distraction and, to keep them from having alcoholic drinks, the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit for commercial drivers has been set to a low 0.04%
- Trucking firms and drivers strictly observe the hours of service (HOS) rule, which mandates an 11-hour driving limit after being off duty for 10 consecutive hours. The HOS rule also states that drivers “may not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty. Off-duty time does not extend the 14-hour period” (http://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/regulations/hours-service/summary-hours-service-regulations)
- Trucking firms keep a record of regularly scheduled truck check and maintenance and that the driver ascertains that his/her truck’s tires and braking system are in good condition before going on duty
Obviously, despite these regulations from federal agencies, accidents involving trucks still occur, and one very common cause of these accidents is negligence – on the part of the driver, the trucking firm, the truck part manufacturer or those responsible in keeping roads and highways free of driving hazards.
Being the victim of an accident where a truck is involved can cause trauma, so victims should not be shy to ask for help from those who can help them recover.Read More