- Almost 4,000 people were killed in accidents with semi trucks in 2016.
- 82% of those victims were people other than the driver of the truck.
- 11% of all road fatalities in 2016 involved semi trucks.
Semi trucks are multi-ton, monstrous behemoths that have come to dominate California’s highways and byways. From the ways some truck drivers operate their vehicles, it may seem like they do whatever they have to in order to get their freight delivered on time.
Sure, there are federal and state laws that have to be followed, but it’s not illegal if no one reports them, right?
Luckily, there are safety procedures and protocols set in place that trucks drivers and their companies alike cannot ignore. These features are integrated into the truck’s technology. That’s a relief when you consider the fact that there is currently a shortage of truck drivers across the nation, so less-experienced drivers are being put behind the wheel without extensive training.
Here are some of the safety protocols in place for trucks drivers, rookies and veterans alike.
In the earlier days of 18-wheelers, new drivers would sit in a classroom and learn all about their new rigs before going out and getting hands-on experience. Nowadays, learning is done mostly online.
Using a variety of different technologically-advanced tools, new drivers learn all about truck driver safety, electronic logging, road mapping and other essential skills to drive well. A combination of digital lessons, as well as instructor-led lessons, help teach new truckers how to drive with the safety of others in mind.
During this time, drivers also learn the skills needed to operate a small business. This includes fuel management, expense tracking and more. By doing so, drivers are taught that they are responsible for their own truck. That includes driving safely and avoiding accidents that could put a serious damper on their own profit margins.
Truck Safety Features
Though truck driving is still one of the most dangerous jobs in America, it can come a long way since the early days. This is a blessing for both truck drivers and other motorists who share the road with them.
For instance, the new Detroit Assurance system makes it much easier for truckers to get a sense of what’s around them, even though they have massive blind spots. Some trucks now have a radar system that senses other vehicles around them, and there is also an optional camera system that helps truckers stay in their lanes.
Truck Driver Safety Tips
No matter what type of features are on a truck, human error plays into almost every accident on the road. When someone is negligent or reckless in their driving, lives are put at risk.
The radar system works much like safety systems in new cars. If there is a vehicle too close to front of the truck, an automatic brake system activates. Though it may not completely prevent the accident from happening, it can help minimize the damage done.
Also similar to newer cars, the camera system alerts the truck driver if they are crossing lanes without their blinker on. That helps prevent truckers from inadvertently drifting into the lanes beside them. Modern truck safety features help to ensure that everyone on the road is in less danger.
Other Safety Protocols
Every trucking company has its own training program. That can become complicated if a driver moves from company to company. New systems help truckers learn exactly what they need to. For instance, a new driver will need to learn the basics, but having the same requirements for a veteran can be a waste of time and resources.
In addition, trying to force veterans to completely relearn everything can lead to major safety issues, as they may forget different parts of the new system.
Finally, technology has made keeping a log much easier. Truck drivers are expected to keep a record of just about everything that goes on in their vehicle. Electronic logging systems can keep track of some of the more intricate details, such as engine issues. As such, these systems can have a major impact on any accident cases.
At Ernst Law Group, we have seen the difference safe driving practices can make. Truck driver accident procedures have to be followed after an accident, but what about before the accident occurs. Drivers can do the following to help prevent crashes:
1. Stay Aware and Focused
Distracted driving is a problem among drivers of any vehicle type. People try to do more behind the wheel than they should. Any driver behind the wheel needs to pay attention to the road ahead and stay focused on their task.
2. Stay Awake
Truckers work long hours and drive hundreds of miles a day. Even if a trucker is hanging up their hat exactly when they should, it’s a tiring job. A driver who feels that they are too tired to drive safely should pull over and get some rest of stop driving for the day and pick it up again the next.
3. Stay Sober
Think about the devastation caused when two cars collide because of an impaired driver. Now imagine if one of those vehicles had been a semi truck. The power behind these vehicles makes accidents they are involved in catastrophic. Any truck driver needs to be sober behind the wheel at all times.
4. Follow Maintenance Routines
When a component of a truck fails, accidents can result. Routine inspections and maintenance are absolutely necessary for any rig and any driver would be negligent if they didn’t complete these tasks.
5. Make Repairs
An inspection won’t make a difference if any noticed issues are not repaired as soon as possible. While a driver may not have the authorization to schedule repairs on their own, issues should be reported through the proper channels.
Our San Luis Obispo Truck Accident Attorneys are Here to Help
Even with all of these safety features in place, truck accidents will happen. When they do, you need to make sure you get the compensation you deserve. If you’ve been involved in a semi truck accident in San Luis Obispo, contact the attorneys at Ernst Law Group for a free consultation.