An Analysis Breakdown of the Unthinkable
By Eric Braun, Senior Writer, USRW
One of the biggest fears we all have as Road Warriors is getting involved in an accident, it’s on our minds 11 hours a day and we remain vigilant to avoid it from happening. The frustrating part is that we can be as safe as possible and still end up in a wreck due to other people’s lack of vigilance.
The statistics are a grim reminder of how important it is to practice safety and keep our eye on the ball at all times. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) compiles statistics on Large truck crashes. The FMCSA regulates interstate commerce drivers license requirements. The estimated cost of large truck and bus crashes, including death, injury and property damage, in 2014 rose about 7% to $112 billion.
Nearly 70% of all the freight tonnage moved in the U.S. goes on trucks. Without the industry and our truck drivers, the economy would come to a standstill. To move 9.2 billion tons of freight annually requires nearly 3 million heavy-duty Class 8 trucks and over 3 million truck drivers. It also takes over 37 billion gallons of diesel fuel to move all of that freight. In 2015, half of all commercial truck drivers operating in the U.S. were interstate drivers with a commercial driver’s license, and 15 percent were intrastate CDL drivers.
Truckers who failed to log, update, or provide accurate information regarding their record of duty status led to 326,818 driver violations during 2015 roadside inspections. It was one of the most frequent type of driver violations that year. There were also 136,585 hours-of-service violations, where drivers violated their time limits.
In 2014, the latest statistics available, there were 3,697 fatalities among truckers, which was a 5 % decrease from 2013, however to balance that out, Injuries suffered by Professional Drivers was up by 21% from 73,000 in 2013 to 88,000 in 2014.This would indicate that more people have injuries and as a result less fatalities. Some in the industry attribute the difference to increased safety devices and regulations. Property damage also increased from 2013 and 2014 from 265,000to 346,000, an increase of 21%. (that’s a lot of run over mailboxes)
Numerically, drivers under the age of 25, accounted for 5% of the fatalities totaling out at 202 deaths, and the drivers over 62 accounted for 216 fatalities, a 6 % increase from the previous year. Out of those statics 2% were female drivers.
A more sobering statistic, is that 335 of fatalities were not wearing seat belts and were either partially or fully ejected from the vehicle.
Three factors that lead to these tragedies is:
- Distracted driving, cell phones, texting, adjusting radios, electronics etc.
- Impairment, fatigue, or a medical condition, alcohol or drugs.
- The leading causes of accidents are;
- Distracted driving
- Left turn violations
- Running red lights and stop signs
- Failure to yield
- Big truck rollovers
- Unsafe lane changes
Sadly, most of these accidents have one thing in common: one or more drivers violated one safe driving rule, and that’s failure to look ahead as far as you can see when driving, or failure to pay attention to the road.
All of us at US Road Warriors, wish you safe travels, we’ve got your six!
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