Truck accident fatalities a concern in Pennsylvania

Large truck accidents were involved in 155 of Pennsylvania’s 1,208 total vehicular fatalities in 2013.

Data from the 2013 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics show that 1,208 people died in motor vehicle accidents in Pennsylvania. Of those, 155 people died in crashes that involved large trucks.

Allegheny County lost 65 people in all traffic crashes and one in a large truck crash. That one death represented a reduction in the number of such fatalities for the county as the area saw eight such deaths the prior year. Three people died in each 2011 and 2010 and another eight perished in large truck crashes in 2009 in Allegheny County.

In 2013, neighboring counties saw additional lives lost. Four truck accident deaths occurred in Butler County, three in Fayette County and two each in Washington and Westmoreland Counties. These statistics make it clear that safety can still be compromised when large trucks share the roads with other vehicles.

The problem of truck driver fatigue

With the long, lonely hours that truckers spend on the road, it is no wonder that fatigue can set in. However, this reality does not negate the importance of guidelines to help prevent tired truckers from driving heavy and dangerous vehicles. In 2013, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration did update its rules for when drivers needed to take breaks. Reducing fatigue was the goal of this change.

The new rules were not widely accepted and have led to a hold on the ruling per Congress as noted by the Supply Chain Digest. OverdriveOnline.com indicates that the FMCSA was given through September 2015 to get additional data about the change. However, the timeline for further information can be extended if need be.

Issues with impaired driving

The FMCSA has been conducting random driver substance tests. Bulk Transporter notes that these efforts will continue because the results have demonstrated a need for this. Over a period of time, the number of failed tests has been increasing. The tests are for both drugs and alcohol.

Drug and alcohol use is also the subject of a new database and pre-hire process that the FMCSA is developing currently. According to the Commercial Carrier Journal, drivers must submit to and pass substance testing before they can legally be hired for driving jobs. All test results, including refusals to take tests, must be logged into the database. A review of records in this database is required by all potential employers before hiring can be allowed.

Pennsylvania residents deserve safe roads

Safety matters. It really is that simple. When a Pennsylvania resident is involved in an accident with a large truck, compensation is needed. It is best to contact an attorney promptly in these situations.