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Ten suggestions to make the trucking industry safer

November 11, 2014

Reports from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration show that, in spite of an increase in monitoring, truck accidents are on the rise. In 2013, Illinois recorded more than 5,200 accidents involving tractor-trailers, and estimates indicate that nearly 90 percent of all crashes are due to an action or a failure to act on the part of the driver. A proactive approach has the potential to reduce this serious problem.

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Collaboration can reduce risks

Drivers need more education on the effects and interactions of prescription and over-the-counter drug use. Medications as seemingly innocuous as cough syrup can affect reaction time enough to cause a wreck.

Distracted driving has become a factor in an increasing number of accidents. Handheld devices should never be within reach of a driver. Keeping phones turned off or put away can prevent the temptation to check messages or respond to notifications.

The legally sanctioned workday for a truck driver is 14 hours, and 11 may be spent on the road. This does not provide enough rest to prevent the fatigue that plagues many drivers. Owners should create reasonable schedules to allow operators time to recover.

There are mandatory maintenance standards for commercial vehicles, but a daily inspection may prevent small issues from becoming large enough to cause a crash. Failing to maintain a vehicle can result in a negligence charge in the event of an accident.

Many accidents occur because drivers engage in dangerous behaviors, such as following too closely to other vehicles. When presented with evidence that a driver has a problem with aggressive driving, safety or anger management techniques may help to control it.

Technology can prevent accidents

Speed limiters are available that prevent a vehicle from exceeding a set limit. Speeding is one of the primary causes of truck accidents, and the risks of injury or fatality increase with each mile per hour added.

Onboard GPS is becoming more common, but it is dangerous for a driver to change routes or check directions manually while on the road. Planning ahead can prevent accidents that often occur because the driver is unfamiliar with the roads.

Camera technology is coming standard on more and more vehicles. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration recommends adding cameras and warnings to large trucks to prevent the accidents that occur as a result of blind spots.

Reducing simple mistakes can eliminate the potential for big consequences. For example, a lane departure warning system alerts the driver when the truck drifts into another lane without an accompanying turn signal.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends electronic stability control systems, which may prevent as many as 4,500 crashes per year.

A victim of a truck accident often sustains serious injury because of the extensive damage a truck can cause in a crash, and may benefit from the advice of an Chicago trucking accident attorney who is knowledgeable about the laws and regulations governing the trucking industry.

If you have been injured in a personal injury or medical malpractice accident, do not hesitate to contact the Chicago accident and injury law firm of Cogan & Power at (312) 477-2500 to schedule a free case consultation, so that we can help you begin the process of recovery as soon as possible. If you cannot come to our offices in downtown Chicago, we will come to you. And because we take cases on a contingency basis, you will not pay any fee unless we get you compensation.