When North Carolina motorists are in accidents with large trucks, the truck drivers are not always at fault. In fact, car drivers are at fault in around 70 percent of accidents that involve large trucks and cars.
Federal data suggests that the roads in North Carolina and around the country have become more dangerous in recent years. The surge in traffic accident deaths observed in 2015 and 2016 represented the highest two-year increase in road fatalities in more than half a century according to the National Safety Council, and statistics from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration indicate that fatal collisions involving large commercial vehicles are becoming worryingly common.
The vehicles of some North Carolina truck drivers may have been inspected on May 3 as part of an unannounced Brake Safety Day. There was a total of 9,524 inspections by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, and 1,989 trucks were found to be in violation and placed out of service. Brake-related violations were the cause of 1,146 of these out-of-service placements.
Federal rules for truck driver training are going into place that will affect new drivers in North Carolina and across the United States. The national training standards had been delayed for five months after the Trump administration ordered the regulations reviewed. The new rules, which became effective on June 5, have a compliance window that lasts for nearly three years.
North Carolina motorists who are concerned about their safety on the roadway may be interested to learn that trucking companies may soon be screening more drivers for sleep apnea. Based on the U.S. Supreme Court's April decision not to hear a case on the matter, courts do not appear to be willing to grant truckers protection for obesity under the American with Disabilities Act. As a result, some companies may now require testing with less fear of being named in a potential lawsuit.
More large trucks and buses are becoming involved in fatal accidents in North Carolina and around the country according to a report from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The agency observed increases between 2014 and 2015 in both the number of commercial vehicles weighing in excess of 10,000 pounds involved in fatal crashes and the number of fatal accidents per 100 million miles traveled by trucks and buses.
North Carolina motorists may be interested to learn that truck drivers may soon be operating their commercial vehicles remotely. A company based in San Francisco created remote control technology that could be retrofit into commercial trucks that are already using the roadways.
North Carolina motorists may be interested to learn that, according to a study, commercial truck drivers who have certain health issues are more likely to be a risk to others on the road with them. Ultimately, the study showed that there was an association between decreasing health and increased crash risk.
In an effort to help curb the dangers of distracted driving, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recently proposed the idea of a new "driver mode" cell phone setting. The setting would be manual since technology cannot currently differentiate between a driver's phone and a passenger's phone. In the future, however, technology may allow for such a switch to be automatic.
In early December, Republican lawmakers blocked Obama administration rules that would require truckers in North Carolina and nationwide to get enough rest between shifts. Safety advocates worry other regulations could be rolled back once Republicans take control of Congress and the White House in January.