Large trucks pose serious dangers on area roads

Between Putnam County and its neighboring counties, a total of 48 people died in large truck accidents between 2009 and 2013.

Living in Putnam County offers a good quality of life for people seeking refuge from the hustle and bustle of New York City while still affording easy access to its amenities. However, no matter how quiet the area can seem, it is not immune to the dangers that large trucks like semis pose to other motorists.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration records show that between 2009 and 2013, there were 48 total fatalities from large truck accidents in the area. These fatalities occurred in Putnam, Westchester, Dutchess, Rockland and Orange Counties.

Statewide, the numbers only make the risk more real. In 2013, 118 out of 1,199 vehicular fatalities were attributed to accidents involving large commercial trucks. Every year between 2009 and 2012, at least 100 people lost their lives in these crashes.

Accidents take many forms and happen in many places

New Yorkers can be impacted by truck accidents anywhere. One New York trucker was driving in Ohio when he experienced a flat tire. The News-Herald indicates that a pickup truck arrived to assist with the tire change. While the two men were working on the big rig, another semi truck drove off the road and struck them.

The driver of the disabled semi was killed at the scene of the accident. The other man was seriously injured and taken to the hospital. WOWKTV.com indicates that an investigation is still underway. However, authorities have indicated a strong possibility that the at-fault driver may face criminal charges.

How do these accidents happen?

There is no one easy answer to that question. Some causes of truck crashes include alcohol or drug use, trucker fatigue and speeding. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is looking at how to address each of these problems.

Regarding substance use, the FMCSA was conducting random tests of drivers. As Bulk Transporter notes, the high number of failed tests has led the agency to continue these tests. Additionally, a new database is nearing completion according to the Commercial Carrier Journal. This database will be a central repository for driver records, including drug and alcohol tests and violations. Employers will be required to review this database before hiring any driver.

Truck driver fatigue was the reason that the FMCSA changed break and rest requirements in 2013. These changes, however, were not unanimously welcomed in the industry. Per Supply Chain Digest, issues about these changes led Congress to put the new rules aside until the FMCSA could collect more data about the need for and the impact of them. According to JOC.com, this has been done and a report is being compiled.

Business Insurance explains that speeding may be able to be controlled by special devices in trucks. The installation of these units would allow trucking companies to monitor driver speeds.

What happens after an accident?

Many things can take place after a truck accident. Victims or relatives of victims are encouraged to contact an attorney. Doing this offers the right level of assistance in seeking compensation.