In 2016, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported a 6 percent jump in roadway fatalities since 2015, and 2015 saw an increase of 7.2 percent over 2014. These sharply rising rates are concerning for everyone on the roads, but especially truckers, who spend up to 11 hours per day behind the wheel. Truck driver fatalities have risen 11.2 percent over the past five years, likely because there are more drivers on the road as the rise of ecommerce has resulted in an increased demand for shipped goods.
From November 13-19, 2017, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), with support from the TIM Network, its partners and first responders around the United States, will mark the second annual Traffic Incident Response Week. Community leaders and preparedness organizations will use the week to prepare drivers and their local public safety professionals to take safe actions that will prevent responder, driver and passenger deaths.
Truck drivers already undergo extensive safe driver training, and trucker accident rates should only decline as the FMCSA estimates the upcoming December 18 ELD mandate will prevent 1,844 crashes, 562 injuries and save 26 lives annually by enforcing hour limits so drivers get sufficient rest. In addition, companies that manage a fleet of vehicles can closely monitor each of their drivers’ behavior on the road by investing in GPS fleet tracking software with a safety feature, which can track behaviors like speeding and sharp braking to help fleet managers ensure their drivers are not contributing to dangerous driving practices.
But what can the rest of us do?
- Be aware of truckers’ blind spots: Trucks have blind spots all around the front, sides and back of their vehicles. If you can’t see a trucker’s mirrors, they can’t see you. And due to trucks’ front blind spot, never pass from the right.
- Don’t follow too closely: Keep in mind for a trucker to stop safely, they must start slowing down approximately 360 feet in advance – about the length of a football field. Maintain a safe distance when driving behind them.
- Slow down: If a truck is passing you, don’t speed up: give them plenty of room.
To learn which American highways are the most dangerous, click here.
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