Drowsy driving is something that truckers in California have to contend with, sometimes on a daily basis if they do not achieve long and restful sleep. The following are a few tips that truckers can take to heart the next time they feel themselves becoming sleepy. It all starts with knowing the symptoms of fatigue: continual yawning, heavy eyelids, lapses in memory and so on.
An estimated 35% of truckers in California and throughout the U.S. suffer from a sleep disorder known as sleep apnea. Apnea means "without breath," and it can occur in one of two ways. In central sleep apnea, the brain may fail to send signals to the muscles that control breathing, causing a person to stop breathing. In obstructive sleep apnea, or OSA, the relaxing and collapsing of the throat muscles and mouth palate cause the upper airway to be blocked.
Every year, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance conducts the International Roadcheck, a 72-hour inspection spree of commercial motor vehicles that's meant to enforce federal CMV safety regulations. Truckers in California should know that the 2020 roadcheck has been set for May 5 to 7: a full month earlier than in previous years. The reason has to do with achieving favorable weather conditions for certain jurisdictions.
California big rig drivers should know that the number of fatal crashes in their industry has gone up over the years. There was a 52.6% increase in fatal large-truck crashes from 2009 to 2018 with the latter year seeing a total of 4,415 such incidents. Various factors explain this rise, and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is planning to conduct a study on them. It made the formal proposal in January 2020.
California drivers should know about the Large Truck Crash Causation Study. This is a 2007 study that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration undertook over the course of 33 months to find out the most common causes of highway accidents, especially those involving large trucks. Error on the trucker's part was behind 44% of crashes between one truck and one passenger vehicle.
Jackknifing on California roads can lead to serious injuries for drivers as well as a loss of cargo. However, there are steps that a driver can take to prevent this from taking place. It is important to inspect a trailer while driving to ensure that it is not swaying or swinging. It is also important to not brake too hard when a trailer is either empty or lighter than normal.
Collisions between passenger vehicles and big rigs can lead to serious injuries or death. Drivers in California should know that driver error is not the only reason behind truck accidents, even if it is the most frequent cause. There are four others that are especially common.
People in California may be more likely to be in fatal accidents involving large trucks than with other types of vehicles. The accident fatality rate for large trucks is nearly three times more than that of other vehicles. In 2017, more than 4,000 people died in accidents involving large trucks, an increase of 28% since 2009. Most of the fatalities were people in other vehicles, but 17% were people in the trucks and 14% were pedestrians or people on bikes or motorcycles.
In California and across the United States, failure to wear seat belts frequently causes trucking accidents and car crashes. The CVSA's Operation Safe Driver Week took place from July 14 to July 20, 2019. The event focused on drivers who speed and commit other violations. With nearly 47,000 motor vehicle citations and approximately 88,000 warnings issued to drivers, CVSA officials stated that drivers are responsible for 95 percent of truck accidents and automobile collisions. As a result of the study, law enforcement officers plan to help drivers prevent accidents.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is teaming up with the trucking industry to encourage the use of advanced driver assistance systems in commercial fleets. The move is designed to make roadways safer in California and across the United States.