The federal government is planning to ease hours-of-service regulations for truckers working in Oklahoma and across the U.S., according to media reports. If the regulations are changed, it would mark a major victory for trucking industry lobbyists, who believe the rules are too restrictive.
Both passenger vehicle and CMV drivers in Oklahoma should be aware that the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance will be holding its annual Operation Safe Driver Week from July 14 to 20. During this week, police will be boosting up the enforcement of traffic laws. Police will especially look for signs of distracted, impaired and aggressive driving as well as violations like seat belt neglect, failure to obey traffic signals and failure to keep a safe distance from vehicles.
Truck driver fatigue can result in serious crashes on Oklahoma roadways. Under current regulations, truck drivers are allowed to work for 14 hours per day and spend 11 of those hours driving. Truckers are required to record the hours that they work in an electronic log. While driver safety is a top priority for trucking companies, it is not always possible to prevent accidents from occurring.
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance will be holding its annual International Roadcheck from June 4 to 6, 2019. The inspection spree will consist of mostly Level I inspections, which are the most comprehensive, so CMV drivers in Oklahoma should make sure they are compliant with all federal vehicle and driver regulations.
Truckers and their employers in Oklahoma should know that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration released some disturbing data during the 2019 Transportation Research Board's annual meeting. The organization found that the percentage of fatal crashes involving at least one large truck increased each year from 2015 to 2017. The percentage of large truck occupant fatalities rose during that same period.
According to federal data, large truck crash fatalities went up between 2009 and 2017. This came despite a corresponding decrease in miles traveled by commercial truckers. Oklahoma drivers have good reason to be wary around big rigs because many are not equipped with the safety technology that can help them prevent crashes.
Truck driver fatigue can pose a serious threat to roadway safety in Oklahoma. Because commercial trucks are so massive, a truck crash can be particularly devastating to the lives and well-being of passengers and drivers in other vehicles. Truck drivers are at risk of fatigue for many reasons; they often drive along monotonous highways for many hours at a time, often at night. Drivers who switch their shifts may be particularly vulnerable to fatigue, and when a truck driver dozes off behind the wheel, the result can be a catastrophic truck accident.
Truck drivers spend a significant amount of time on Oklahoma's highways. That's why safety advocates say the companies that employ them must take the lead in promoting protocols to reduce the number of deadly crashes. Truckers are especially singled out because deadlines are always an issue with deliveries. Furthermore, the sheer size of a large semi can result in severe injury or death.
Federal data shows a 28 percent increase in the number of large truck crash fatalities between 2009 and 2016. Using this data as a starting point, The Kansas City Star has published an article advocating mandatory crash avoidance technology on commercial trucks. Truckers in Oklahoma will want to know what supporters, opponents and those in between are saying at the moment.
Semi-tractor trailers undergoing roadside inspections are likely to be a common sight in Oklahoma and around the country during the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance's Brake Safety Week. The nonprofit group of state and federal safety officials and industry representatives shortened their annual brake safety blitz to a single day in 2017, but the nation's commercial vehicle drivers can expect a full week of enhanced scrutiny this year.