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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Safety Rules for Protecting Truck Drivers While on the Road

Truck drivers are instrumental in transporting merchandise cross-country from one area to another. Without them, the economy would virtually come to a stop. The high number of truckers on the road makes safety a primary issue, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or FMCSA strives to keep them as safe as possible by implementing safety rules and regulations. All truckers need to consider road safety as a job requirement, and avoid situations that put safety in question. One of the primary reasons for semi accidents is driver fatigue.

The wages of a driver translates into deadlines and quotas, so many tend to stay behind the wheel too long without rest. Law regulates the hours of driving time and the hours of rest required for a trucker. Drivers are required to keep logbooks with back up receipts as a means of enforcement. Some truckers circumvent or falsify the records because the faster they move cargo the more money they make. However, most of them realize the importance of safety on the job. In order to overcome fatigue some drivers use prescription drugs, over the counter medications or other types of stimulants to stay awake.

Instead of avoiding the problem, drugs compound the problem decreasing safety, so laws require motor carrier companies to randomly drug test their employees. A distracted driver is dangerous to everyone on the road. Sending a text or internet surfing, watching DVDs, or attempting to operate a laptop while driving, causes many accidents. Although truckers spend many hours in their rigs, they should not become comfortable enough to entertain themselves in this manner. Vehicle maintenance is high on the list of controllable causes of accidents.

Fluids, hoses and tires need checked every time the vehicle stops to fuel. Tires need examined closely due to the time spent on the road along with the changing weather conditions a tractor-trailer can encounter during one delivery. Brakes are another controllable reason for accidents caused by mechanical failure. Trucks have to rely heavily on their braking system, especially in mountainous terrain. Slowing a truck with a full load, going down a steep incline puts extensive stress on the system. Truckers know that driving a big rig is much different than driving a car with a bigger chance of causing injury or death in an accident.

Unsafe truck driving practices should not exist. A semi cannot react as quickly as a car in any situation. It takes longer to increase and decrease speed and takes more room at intersections to make a turn. The trucks blind spot is larger than the one on a car and speeding increases the already lengthy reaction time. A load of shifting weight exaggerates the movements of a truck, so extra caution needs observed when hauling shifting cargo. Every action that puts a car at risk of an accident also puts a truck at risk with possibly tragic results.

As with any motor vehicle on a public roadway, the person driving a semi must always be aware of other motorists that are inattentive or reckless. Watching out for other unsafe drivers can often prevent accidents. Those who transport cargo, whether local or long distance are responsible for evenly distributing the weight as much as possible and safely securing their load. The use of tie downs straps and tarps help obtain this goal.

Drivers need to make a concerted effort to get sufficient rest, eat right, and get physical exercise to maintain a level of physical fitness that assists in staying mentally alert. In an accident, truck drivers are at risk of serious injury or death, so seat belts should be in use and a fire extinguisher kept in the cab of the truck. Driving tractor-trailers takes skill and carries a huge responsibility with it, so no one should ever consider it a routine job. Regular use of safety precautions tops the list for doing it successfully.

When a large truck crashes with a passenger-sized automobile, the results are often catastrophic. Even a minor impact from a semi truck accident will result in a huge impact on a passenger vehicle. Huge impact equals serious, sometimes permanent, injuries. Maryland injury lawyers will make sure that you and your family gets the reimbursement that you deserve. If you've been injured by a tractor trailer, call a Maryland truck accident attorney today.

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