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Driving certain types of rigs, like tankers and flatbeds, is probably among the most dangerous major occupations in the country.

Trucking is a dangerous profession. According to recent statistics compiled by the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), large trucks were involved in approximately 368,000 police-reported motor vehicle traffic crashes in one year’s timeframe. Of that number, close to 4,500 involved fatalities, and 77,000 involved injuries. It is the primary mission of the FMCSA to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries, particularly involving large trucks and buses.

Data collected by the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) and Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS) reported the following National Crash Facts for 2008:
4,066 large trucks and 247 buses were involved in crashes resulting in fatalities
There were 4,229 fatalities in crashes involving large trucks and 307 fatalities in crashes involving buses
129,653 large trucks and 14,045 buses were involved in non-fatal crashes
51,680 large trucks and 7,603 buses were involved in crashes resulting in injury
There were 71,329 injuries in crashes involving large trucks and 17,148 injuries in crashes involving buses
77,973 large trucks and 6,442 buses were involved in tow-away crashes
2,641 large trucks and 11 buses were involved in Hazmat (HM) Placard crashes

Driving certain types of rigs, like tankers and flatbeds, is probably among the most dangerous major occupations in the country. Rollover accidents account for the highest percentage of driver fatalities, at about 55 percent, while another 10 percent of fatalities are attributed to fuel oil fires. Other dangers to commercial truck drivers include accidents involving truck jackknifing, brakes and downhill braking.

Fatal Bronx bus crash driver on trial for manslaughter

The driver involved in a horrific 2011 bus crash on a Bronx, New York, highway that left 15 people dead and several others injured is on trial facing manslaughter charges. A prosecutor told jurors that Ophadell Williams, 41, was a professional bus driver with years of experience and should have known better than to drive a busload of passengers while in a fatigued state. The March 12, 2011, crash happened on Interstate 95 at daybreak as Mr. Williams was driving a busload of passengers to Manhattan’s Chinatown from the Mohegan Sun casino in Uncasville, Conn. The bus crashed just feet ... Read More

Indiana trucking firm shut down over numerous safety violations

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has ordered U & D Service, Inc. of Indianapolis, Indiana, to immediately cease all transportation operations involving interstate commerce, declaring the commercial truck company an “imminent hazard” to public safety. The regulatory agency said that in conducting an extensive review of the Indiana trucking firm’s operations, it uncovered multiple violations of federal transportation safety rules, “including a continuous pattern of using drivers without valid commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs) and using drivers that do not meet federal English proficiency requirements” for commercial drivers. Using drivers who don’t possess the proper truck driving training and ... Read More

NC company ordered to reinstate driver fired for reporting faulty brakes

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has ordered a North Carolina commercial printing company to reinstate a former truck driver it fired after he reported safety concerns about his company-owned truck. An investigation conducted under OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program found that Salisbury-based Rowan Business Forms violated the Surface Transportation Assistance Act’s whistleblower provision when it fired its driver for reporting a dangerous mechanical problem that affected his ability to brake properly. In addition to reinstatement, OSHA also ordered Rowan Business Forms and its owners and officers to pay the former driver more than $83,000 in back wages, interest, ... Read More

Investigators probing why two tractor trailers stopped on I-75 before pileup

An ongoing investigation of the deadly multivehicle pileup on both southbound and northbound stretches of I-75 in Florida has raised a couple of questions about procedure in the event foggy conditions impair highway visibility: First, why did the Florida Highway Patrol reopen the interstate to traffic after it had been closed about three hours due to blinding fog and smoke; and why did two tractor trailers stop in their lanes on the southbound stretch? According to the Gainesville Sun, a wildfire broke out in the Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park Saturday afternoon, creating heavy smoke along I-75 south as the ... Read More

New medical certification requirements go in effect for commercial drivers

As of January 30, 2012, a new federal mandate requires all commercial driver’s license holders to provide information to their state driver licensing agency regarding the type of commercial vehicle operations they work for or expect to work for. The new federal requirement is intended to make U.S. highways and roads safer by restricting certain drivers who may be considered medically unsafe. Drivers who operate in certain types of commerce will be required by the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to submit a current medical examiner’s certificate to their SDLA, which in turn will get them a “certified” ... Read More

Blinding fog and smoke eyed as a cause of deadly Florida pileup

Survivors of a deadly multi-vehicle pileup on Interstate 75 south of Gainesville, Florida, blamed a blinding mixture of fog and smoke from a brush fire for the crash that killed 10 people and injured 18 others, some of them seriously. Much like the deadly December 29 pileup on I-10 in New Orleans, the Florida crashes involved a number of commercial vehicles, including six tractor trailers and what appeared to be a tour bus. At least a dozen other cars were involved in the crash. The pileups occurred around 3:45 a.m. Sunday on both of I-75’s southbound and northbound stretches. Authorities ... Read More

FMCSA’s final hours-of-service rule published

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has announced its final rule on hours-of-service (HOS) regulations that govern work and rest periods for commercial truck drivers. Trucking companies and drivers have until July 1, 2013, to comply with the rule changes, which Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said “will help prevent fatigue-related truck crashes and save lives.” “Trucking is a difficult job, and a big rig can be deadly when a driver is tired and overworked,” Mr. LaHood said in a statement. “Truck drivers deserve a work environment that allows them to perform their jobs safely.” FMCSA’a new HOS rule: Reduces by ... Read More

Rogue bus company continues service despite federal orders to stop

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has issued an immediate cease and desist order against a Pennsylvania bus company that federal inspectors ordered off the road in December after deeming it to be an “immediate hazard” to public safety. Double Happyness (sic) Travel Inc. of Huntingdon Valley, Penn., was found to be selling passenger tickets in violation of the agency’s December 23 order to “immediately cease all intrastate and interstate passenger service.” An extensive review of the company’s operations turned up multiple serious violations concerning hours-of-service, vehicle maintenance, driver qualification, records of duty, and drug and alcohol testing violations. ... Read More

First sleepy trucker case settled for $3 million, sleep-apnea rules to come

The first lawsuit against a commercial carrier blaming sleep apnea for contributing to a fatal highway crash was settled earlier this month in Texas. Wanda Lindsay, who became an activist against sleep apnea in the trucking industry after her husband was killed in a May 2010 crash, settled with Celadon for $3 million. Mrs. Lindsay and her husband John had been enjoying retired life to the fullest – spending time with their children and grandchildren, planning trips, and traveling, when a sleep-apnea afflicted truck driver slammed into the back of their vehicle while it was stopped in a highway construction ... Read More

Highway crash kills truck driver, leaves mother and daughters dangling from bridge

A harrowing crash near the Southern California town of Buellton Thursday left a tractor trailer driver dead and three people in a mangled BMW hanging perilously over the side of a bridge on a mountainous stretch of Highway 101. According to the California Highway Patrol, a gravel truck was traveling northbound in the fast lane when it struck the BMW from behind. The truck then smashed through the guardrails and careened into the creek below, where it burst into flames upon impact. The driver, Charles Allison Jr., was killed instantly. The collision oriented the BMW toward the guardrails and drove ... Read More