Trucking companies have a duty to keep our economy moving while ensuring the safety of those who share the road with large commercial trucks. The demand for essential goods and services due to COVID-19 recently led to a temporary suspension of the federal hours-of-service laws for some truck drivers. As a result, we could see an increase in drowsy driving and speeding accidents.
Truck crashes have always been a safety concern in Texas, but there is no better time than now for truck drivers and the companies that employ them to be reminded of the duty they are required to uphold on the road.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently released important lessons truck drivers and trucking companies should learn from crashes the agency has investigated. The NTSB first addressed a nearly six percent increase in crash fatalities involving large commercial trucks since 2016. In 2018, that amounted to 4,951 road deaths.
The NTSB's truck fleet safety card compiled critical safety tips from its “Most Wanted” safety improvements for 2019-2020, which addressed trucker fatigue, speeding, alcohol and drug impairment, distracted driving, medical fitness, occupant protection and collision avoidance technologies.
Safety tips for truck drivers
The safety tips card was made available to all commercial truck drivers and fleet owners. It suggests the following safety precautions for truck drivers:
- Comply with federal regulations regarding cellphone use and avoid all other distractions while driving.
- Follow all posted speed limits and reduce speed during inclement weather and hazardous road conditions.
- Prevent drowsy driving by taking frequent breaks, eating healthy, exercising, and not driving after using prescription medication.
- Always wear a seatbelt and ensure that passengers do the same.
- Do not drive after consuming alcohol and/or recreational drugs.
Safety tips for fleet owners and trucking companies
Fleet owners and trucking companies are just as responsible for truck crashes as drivers. That's why the NTSB offers these tips:
- Establish a fatigue management program based on the North American Fatigue Management Program guideline to help mitigate drowsy driving.
- Purchase safety equipment, such as underside guards, speed limiting technology and collision avoidance systems. Train drivers on how to use them.
- Ensure that drivers are medically fit for the job. They should be screened for sleep apnea and other medical conditions that can lead to a crash.
What if truck drivers and fleet owners fail to follow these guidelines?
When truck drivers and the companies they work for fail to follow the guidelines outlined by the NTSB, they can endanger others on the road. The San Antonio truck accident attorneys at The Herrera Law Firm have seen how devastating this type of negligence can be. We have been representing people injured in truck crashes since 1983.
If you were injured in a crash involving a large commercial truck, our legal team can help you get the compensation you need. It can cover your medical expenses, lost wages, pain, suffering, and other crash-related damages. Contact us online or call 1-800-455-1054 to learn more. Our case evaluations are confidential and free of charge.