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highway safety 273 articles

Deadly Wrong-Way Tractor-Trailer Crash Prompts Lawsuit

The widow of an Illinois man who was killed Dec. 5 when a tractor-trailer collided head-on with the school bus he was riding in has filed a wrongful death complaint against the trucking company and its owner. Kathleen Crabtree filed the lawsuit in McLean (Illinois) County Circuit Court, alleging the tractor-trailer driver Ryan Hute was driving his truck negligently and recklessly the wrong way on I-74 near Bloomington, Indiana, Dec. 5 when he collided head-on with a school bus carrying the Normal West High school girls’ junior varsity basketball team. The crash killed Ms. Crabtree’s husband, Charles Crabtree, 72, who ... Read More

FMCSA Urged to Curb Regulatory Exemptions for Commercial Carriers

An organization of commercial vehicle inspectors is urging the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to reign in the number of exemptions allowed to motor carriers, saying they are creating “confusion and inconsistency in enforcement.” Collin Mooney, Executive Director of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), sent a letter to the FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez expressing his concern with the excessive exemptions and their impact on the ability of inspectors to accurately and efficiently perform their jobs. The CVSA, which represents more than 4,000 commercial vehicle inspectors in North America, also suggested the exemptions could erode highway safety. “Since 2015, ... Read More

Trucking Companies Can Disregard California Break Rules, FMCSA Says

Commercial trucking companies do not have to comply with a California law requiring them to provide drivers with paid rest and meal breaks, federal regulators announced just before Christmas. In a written statement, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) Administrator Raymond Martinez suggested that pre-empting California’s stricter safety rules would lead to increased highway safety. The federal government’s hours-of-service (HOS) rules allow truck drivers to spend more time behind the wheel without a break. “Safety is FMCSA’s top priority and having uniform rules is a key component to increasing safety for our truck drivers,” Mr. Martinez said. “During the public comment ... Read More

Side Underride Bill Languishes in U.S. Congress

In December 2017, a bipartisan bill that would require side guards on tractor-trailers to prevent deadly underride crashes was introduced to the Senate. One year later, Congress has yet to take any action on the bill. The Stop Underrides Act calls for new regulations that would require tractor-trailer and other heavy vehicles weighing more than 10,000 pounds to install side underride guards. The bill would also require the U.S. Department of Transportation to review the underride standards every five years for improvement or modification and to strengthen rear-underride guards that are already required on tractor-trailers and other large trucks. The ... Read More

Severely Injured Tesla Model S Driver Sues Over Autopilot Crash

When Shawn Hudson bought a 2017 Tesla Model S for his long commutes to and from work, he invested $5,000 for the autopilot add-on, convinced that it would make his four-hour drives easier. He never thought the safety feature would send his car into the path of a disabled vehicle while going 80 mph. Mr. Hudson survived the crash, but he suffers from severe and permanent brain and spinal injuries, according to a lawsuit he filed against Tesla. The basis of his complaint is that Tesla often describes its autopilot as a driver assistance feature, indicating that drivers need to ... Read More

Los Angeles Bus Crash Injures 40, Road Rage Suspected

Dash cam video of a bus crash on a busy Los Angeles County highway shows the Oct. 14 incident may have been the result of road rage. Forty people were injured when a white charter bus marked “Transit Systems” traveling in the right northbound lane of the 405 freeway in the San Fernando Valley suddenly veered left across multiple lanes of traffic. The bus crashed through a concrete divider and stopped splayed across the southbound lanes. At least two other vehicles were involved in the bus crash, which occurred just after 1 p.m. in the North Hills neighborhood of Los ... Read More

Traffic Fatalities Dip Slightly in 2017

The number of traffic fatalities in the U.S. dropped slightly in 2017, reversing an upward trend that had been in place the two previous years, federal transportation authorities said. Despite the slight decline, 2017 was nevertheless the second deadliest year for traffic fatalities in the U.S. during the last decade. Distracted, smartphone-using drivers and motorists on prescription opioids and other drugs account for some of the highway carnage, which hit historic highs in recent years, but the factors behind fatal traffic crashes are always harder to pinpoint than to estimate. But one thing is certain: the recent decline in traffic fatalities may be ... Read More

All Major Rear Underride Guard Makers Earn IIHS Top Rating

The eight top manufacturers of rear underride guards for tractor-trailers and other large commercial vehicles have all been awarded the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) highest safety rating for the first time ever. Rear underride guards for tractor-trailers make the difference between life and death for hundreds of motorists who collide with the back of a large commercial vehicle every year. The guards are steel bars that hang from the backs of tractor-trailers to prevent a passenger vehicle from moving underneath in a rear crash. Should the rear underride guards fail, the resulting collision is usually catastrophic for the ... Read More

Crash-Avoidance Mandate for Tractor-Trailers Nowhere In Sight

Crash-avoidance systems on tractor-trailers and other heavy vehicles could potentially save thousands of lives per year, mitigate crash severity and injuries, and reduce property damages, yet Congress has failed to mandate the technology despite an alarming increase in tractor-trailer crash deaths. The Kansas City Star examined the issue of crash-avoidance technology in tractor-trailers in a recent report, noting that for 20 years the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has repeatedly urged federal regulators to mandate crash-avoidance systems in trucks, yet no action has been taken, let alone proposed. In 2016, more than 4,300 people were killed in accidents involving tractor-trailers ... Read More

Trucking Firm Involved in Deadly Greyhound Bus Crash Had Other Recent Crashes

The trucking company whose tractor-trailer collided with a Greyhound bus in New Mexico last week has a history of crashes and safety violations, a pair of lawsuits filed by survivors of the deadly crash contend. According to CBS News, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs suing JAG Transportation of Fresno, California, says federal safety data shows the company’s commercial trucks were involved in three crashes in the last two years. The previous two crashes resulted in two injuries but no fatalities, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration data indicates. Investigators say the Aug. 30 crash occurred when the tractor-trailer experienced a tire ... Read More