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Uncovering Unsafe Commercial Truck Drivers

Truck Drivers Using Drugs

This week law enforcement is fanning out across the country to find and stop dangerous commercial truck drivers.

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance this week is conducting its annual Operation Safe Driver Week. It began July 12 and concludes July 18.  The CVSA is an organization of law officials and safety experts throughout North America focused on making commercial trucking safer and preventing fatal truck crashes.

In announcing this year’s campaign, the CVSA noted that although there are fewer drivers on America’s roads due to the coronavirus pandemic, the nation’s fatality death rate per mile driven is up 14% compared to last year.

The results of last year’s Operation Safe Driver Week shed light on some of the most common and dangerous truck driver behaviors.

Speeding Commercial Truckers

Speeding truck drivers comprised the most frequent danger.  Police officers in 2019 issued 1,454 speeding tickets to commercial truckers.  Another 2,126 were given warnings for exceeding the speed limit.

This was not a surprise.  Citing statistics that show speeding drivers are responsible for more than 25% of motor vehicle crash deaths since 2008, the CVSA announced that speeding was going to be a special focus going into 2019 Operation Safe Driver Week.

CVSA is again focusing on speeding drivers for the 2020 event. The CVSA reported that speeding has spiked during COVID-19 – a trend the Missouri State Highway Patrol announced earlier this month for Show-Me State roads.

Common Dangerous Truck Driver Actions

But speeding is not the only careless action by commercial truckers. Other top issues for which truck drivers were ticketed for last year during Operation Safe Driver Week included:

·         Failure to obey a traffic control device

·         Using a handheld cell phone/texting using a handheld cell phone

·         Improper lane change

·         Following too closely

·         Improper passing

·         Possession or under the influence of drugs or alcohol

·         Inattentive/reckless driving

The last item in the laundry list of reckless truck driving habits may be even more concerning this year, again due to COVID-19.

In late June a company that provides driver monitoring technology to trucking companies announced that its internal research of customers found a rise of distracted truck drivers corresponding with the rise of the coronavirus pandemic.

Samsara analyzed data from 120,000 unique big rigs and found a 20% jump in text messages sent to commercial truckers since March of this year. But just as worrisome, the data also showed bigger jumps per 100 miles for other cell phone distractions:

·         30.8% increase in inbound calls

·         26.5% increase in in the number of times truckers tried to access a cell phone app while driving

The company also found that severe speeding – drivers exceeding posted speed limits by at least 11 mph – has hiked some 20% during COVID-19.

The results of 2020 Operation Safe Driver Week won’t be released until September. Unless officials find a drastic reduction in dangerous truck drivers, many innocent people may fall victim to their negligent actions in the meantime

If you were severely hurt or had a family member die in a crash caused by a commercial truck driver, speak with a commercial truck accident lawyer about your legal rights to just compensation from all responsible parties.

The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.

Authored by Gray, Ritter & Graham, P.C., posted in Blog July 16, 2020