Imagine driving down the highway. Suddenly, there's a cloud burst and rain falls. Immediately, you try to brake, but your vehicle starts to slide. Why? The oil and rain have mixed to make the road slick. In your attempt to slow, you swerve and barely miss someone in another lane. Fortunately, you drive away without a crash this time, but it shocked you into slowing down significantly.
Crashes are bad enough when they're between two small vehicles, but when they involve multiple semi-trucks, they can be lethal. The size of these vehicles makes them likely to crush and damage vehicles of all sizes, putting everyone's lives at risk. Add to that the risk of hazardous materials spilling or the truck's load breaking loose, and there could be mayhem whenever two semis collide.
In just one year, nearly 300 Californians were killed in accidents involving large trucks, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Flat beds, 18-wheelers and semis are huge when compared to passenger vehicles. Driving them can be a challenge, even for professional drivers.
California truck drivers will need to continue taking their required 30-minute breaks during their first eight hours of driving time each day. In August 2016, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration denied a petition by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Association to lift the break requirement.
In California and around the country, vehicles weighing over 26,000 pounds may soon have their maximum speed controlled by an electronic device. Over 3.5 million trucks already have this tool installed and just need them to be activated. A decision hasn't been made on whether the speed limitations will be forced onto truckers, but the limits under consideration are 60, 65 and 68 miles per hour.
California residents who become involved in vehicle accidents with commercial trucks understand just how damaging those crashes can be. If a person is dealing with an injury or other damage that was caused by a commercial vehicle accident, there are certain things they will need to know when thinking about filing a lawsuit.
Trucking component supply companies ZF and WABCO have announced the next stage in autonomous driving technology for truckers. The companies have previously released such collision avoidance technology as WABCO's OnGuard braking system and ZF's steering system, but this joint venture blends technology from both lines. The Evasive Maneuver Assist system was announced on June 28 as a progression of existing active braking systems.
Fatal truck accidents decreased in 2014 throughout the country from the previous year, but injury rates were up, and truckers in California and across the U.S. are wondering what is causing this. According to a report from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there was a 21 percent increase in truck accident injuries in 2014, but the number of trucks involved in fatal accidents was down 5 percent from the 2013 total.
Two proposed trucking industry regulations, which would affect drivers in California and around the country, have been delayed again. The rules have yet to be finalized. One would mandate that carriers install speed limiters on all trucks weighing more than 27,000 pounds. The other would require carriers to annually report truckers that fail or refuse to submit to alcohol or drug tests.
Authorities in California try to be vigilant about possible dangers on the road that can result in a truck accident. With the numerous problems that can result from a crash, one of the most dangerous issues is a drunk truck driver. One driver in particular has had his driving privileges shut down by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration due to repeated incidents of driving under the influence.