Drivers in Pennsylvania may feel uncomfortable about driving near commercial trucks, but they will be happy to hear about an AAA study advising trucking companies to consider four safety technologies for their fleet. These are lane departure warning systems, automatic emergency braking, air disc brakes and video-based onboard safety monitoring systems.
If a trucker is in poor health, they may not be a safe driver. This could have consequences for others on the road in Pennsylvania and elsewhere. If a driver has three or more medical conditions, their risk of getting into an accident could be up to four times greater than normal. This was a key finding of a study conducted by the University of Utah School of Medicine.
Back in 2016, through the efforts of Democrats in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration began working on a rule that would set up criteria by which medical examiners could refer truck drivers for a sleep apnea test. However, in August of 2017, the FMCSA officially announced that it had tabled the rule. Whether the decision will remain final is an issue that can affect many in Pennsylvania and across the U.S.
Many Pennsylvania drivers become tense when in close proximity to semi-tractor trailers, and these stresses can sometimes become overwhelming when road conditions are poor and traffic is heavy. While navigating around large commercial vehicles may never bring joy to nervous motorists, these stresses can be reduced and controlled by understanding the dangers involved and taking appropriate steps to mitigate them.
Pennsylvania motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians might be at greater risk of injury if they are in accident with a truck that has spiked wheel ornaments. These are decorations that are used as lug nut covers on tractor trailer wheels. They might be made from metal, aluminum or plastic. The ones that extend beyond the wheel rim may be particularly dangerous for pedestrians or other vehicles.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has announced that a proposed rule that would require some truck drivers in Pennsylvania and around the country to undergo mandatory sleep apnea testing will be withdrawn on August 7. The rule was originally proposed to clear up ambiguity about when truck drivers with a high risk of developing the debilitating sleep disorder should be tested. The withdrawal of the proposal means that these decisions will continue to be left to medical professionals, carriers and truck drivers.
Pennsylvania residents may be surprised to learn that a recent one-day safety blitz conducted by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance led to almost 2,000 semi-tractor trailers being ordered off the road. The nonprofit association of trade groups and national and local traffic safety officials concentrated on commercial vehicle braking systems during Brake Safety Day on May 3, and the group says that 1,146 of the 1,989 tractor-trailers that were pulled off the road during the initiative were ordered out of service due to some sort of braking violation or issue.
Pennsylvania motorists may not know that the number of large commercial trucks and buses involved in fatal accidents around the country increased by 8 percent in 2015 according to data from NHTSA's Fatality Analysis Reporting System. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that the large truck involvement rate, which is based on the number of fatal crashes for each 100 million miles traveled by semi-tractor trailers, also increased in 2015.
After delays brought on by the Trump administration, a new rule that impacts new drivers took effect on June 5. The rule requires truckers in Pennsylvania and around the country who receive their CDL on or after Feb. 7, 2020 to take behind-the-wheel training. However, there is no minimum number of hours of such training needed to get a license. This is a point of contention as original drafts of the rule required at least 30 hours of such training.
It may not be possible for companies in Pennsylvania and throughout the country to use hair testing to detect drug use because the Department of Health and Human Services has failed to issue guidelines. In December 2015, a bill was passed that set a Dec. 4, 2016 deadline for the HHS to set guidelines, but the department failed to act. As a result, the Department of Transportation has not been able to make it a testing method that is federally approved.