A truck accident earlier this month on an icy highway in Detroit highlighted in a very tragic way the inherent dangers with large semi-tractor trailers. Due to their immense size and mass, big trucks require specialized training to drive or maintain, specific regulations and guidelines to improve their safety, and regular checks to ensure that safety rules are being followed.
A deadly truck accident on an icy highway
According to news reports, the weather turned nasty very quickly on February 1, 2013. What started as a light dusting suddenly became a heavy snowy downfall? The drivers of both the tractor-trailers and smaller cars rapidly slowed down, jamming on brakes on the icy highway. In this perilous scenario, a few big trucks jack-knifed, blocking multiple lanes of the highway. The cars and other trucks following the jack-knifed semi trucks slammed into both the trucks blocking the highway and each other. Sadly, three people died in the crash.
Driving Trucks Safely Isn’t Easy
Trying to safely navigate a 65,000 lb. vehicle down a busy highway is a challenge in the best of weather. That task becomes increasingly difficult when winter weather strikes with little warning. For this reason, among others, truck drivers are required to undergo extensive training and certification before they are legally permitted to operate a big truck. That training ensures that commercial truck drivers have the skills and knowledge required to drive a truck in accordance with state and federal safety guidelines.
Safety Guidelines Save Lives
The NTSB and the FMCSA have long studied the dangers presented by heavy trucks. They investigate major truck accidents and undertake studies of crashes on a regular basis. From those investigations and studies, those organizations enact federal safety guidelines. The FMSCA established voluminous safety guidelines for trick drivers and truck companies that — if followed as required — reduce fatalities, injuries and other damages to materials and property. It is the responsibility of the truck driver and truck company to comply with these safety guidelines.
Unfortunately, many drivers and companies fail or refuse to follow these guidelines, causing fatal accidents often directly as a result of failing to follow the safety procedures. Compliance to safe operations translates into preventable accidents, injuries and deaths.
Driver Error and Failures Lead to Truck Accidents
The federal authorities mandate through the passing of comprehensive safety rules that truck drivers and trucking companies regularly inspect their vehicles and that they file safety reports with the state. This emphasis on strict adherence to the federal motor carrier safety regulations is focused on making our roads and highways safer for all travelling upon them. If more truck drivers followed these safety rules and conformed to the maintenance guidelines, it is inevitable that the number of deadly crashes would be reduced.