Roadside Inspections Flagged Many Safety Violations by Truck Drivers and Tractor Trailers in 2014
Many Oklahoma motorists feel a sense of discomfort when driving near large 18-wheeler trucks, which is certainly understandable. Tractor trailer trucks are much larger and heavier than passenger vehicles so any collision involving a big truck can cause serious or fatal injuries to the occupants of the smaller vehicle. On May 18, for example, a couple from Shady Point, Oklahoma were killed in a three-vehicle accident when the Dodge pickup truck in which they were travelling was struck from behind by a Chevy Impala and pushed across the centerline of Oklahoma Highway 271 near Wister into oncoming traffic. A semi-truck hit the pickup truck, crushing the vehicle and pinning the couple inside. The Oklahoma Highway patrol is continuing to investigate the cause of the accident. According to federal accident data, 112 people died in collisions involving large trucks in Oklahoma in 2013, the most recent year of complete data. Most of the victims were occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles. Oklahoma County had more than 1,100 large truck crashes including 30 accidents that caused incapacitating injuries and eight that caused fatal injuries. Because of the risk posed by large trucks, Oklahoma and other states have safety inspectors who conduct roadside checks to try to keep unsafe commercial truck drivers and dangerous trucks off the highways. Serious violations identified during a roadside inspection can lead to a truck or driver immediately being taken off the road. According to a recent report by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the most frequent driver violations identified during roadside inspections in 2014 were:
- drivers exceeding the allowed amount of time that they can be behind the wheel, known as the hours of service limits;
- drivers failing to keep the previous seven days logbooks;
- false report of driver’s duty status; and
- operating a commercial vehicle without a commercial driver’s license.
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