The annual International Roadcheck program aims to highlight safety violations in trucking in order to reduce the likelihood of serious truck crashes. Trucking crashes can be particularly devastating to others on the road, due to the size and weight of semi-trucks. When these trucks are poorly maintained, the consequences can be catastrophic. During the 72-hour Roadcheck program, which will take place from June 4-6, 2019, a blitz of inspections targets trucks on the road across the country for thorough examination.
Drivers in California and throughout the country may be afflicted by something called attentional blindness. It's a term coined in 1992 by scientists at MIT that refers to not seeing something even while looking right at it. This is because the mind prioritizes certain pieces of information over others to prevent a person from being overwhelmed by sensory input. In some cases, these scenarios occur because a person expects an event to unfold in a certain way.
From 2016 to 2017, there was a considerable rise in the number of deadly large truck and bus accidents in California and the rest of the US, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The FMCSA found that the percentage of large truck occupant deaths rose each year from 2015 to 2017, the latest year for which there is complete data.
Fatal accidents involving tractor-trailers have increased from 2009 to 2016. Although the number of miles that tractor-trailer drivers travel has slightly decreased, the number of fatalities involving the big rigs has increased. California had the second highest number of fatalities in 2017 involving tractor-trailers in the nation.
Truck driver fatigue causes many truck accidents in California and across the U.S. As a result, some truck drivers are turning to stimulants to stay awake. However, experts say this solution is dangerous and could lead to more accidents.
Drivers of dump trucks and ready-mix concrete delivery trucks in California should note that the accident rate among these types of trucks continues to rise. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has brought together the latest statistics, which are from 2016, and released them in a report. In that year, there were 8,206 dump truck crashes so severe that the trucks had to be towed away. There were 838 tow-away accidents with concrete trucks.
The current hours-of-service rules that commercial truckers in California and across the U.S. follow have been met with some criticism. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is currently reviewing about 5,200 comments on these rules, and most are concerned with the mandate that truckers take a 30-minute rest break after eight consecutive work hours.
A multiple-vehicle collision on Highway 1 in California near Santa Cruz caused the road to be closed for more than five hours on Nov. 13. No one was killed in the accident, which involved 20 vehicles and left nine people injured. Two people who were critically injured in the crash are expected to recover, according to an officer with the California Highway Patrol. The same officer said the accident may have been set into motion by a brake failure on the large truck.
Though the overall incidence of traffic fatalities in California and across the United States declined in 2017, large trucking accidents that caused fatalities increased. The number of large trucking fatalities increased by 9 percent in 2017 when compared to 2016. Overall traffic fatalities declined by 1.8 percent in the same time period.
Every year, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance conducts the International Roadcheck across North America to ensure that commercial vehicle drivers are compliant with federal safety standards. This year's roadcheck took place from June 5 to 7 and focused on hours-of-service regulations. Truckers and truck fleet owners in California can glean the results of the roadcheck below.