While on the job, Pennsylvania's truck drivers must obey all state laws, federal regulations and any local restrictions. In addition, truck drivers must also obey all posted signage just as other drivers must.
The worst result of a truck driver's decision to not prioritize safety is a collision with a passenger vehicle. The size differential alone can lead to catastrophe, especially for the occupants of the smaller car. Fortunately, there are many steps truck drivers can take to minimize the risk of a
commercial vehicle collision.
Among the most important steps a commercial driver can take is to get enough rest. Truck driver fatigue is a very dangerous phenomenon, made worse by companies which push their drivers to the limit. Trucking regulations now cap the number of consecutive hours a driver can work, but if a driver or the driver's employer tries to skirt these limits, their negligence may not be discovered until it's too late. Truck drivers must recognize that their own safety is also at risk if they do not get enough rest before hitting the road.
While distracted truck driving has always posed a threat, the sheer number of distractions available nowadays has made this issue more pertinent. A truck driver need only look down at his or her cell phone for a second to cause an 18-wheeler accident. In addition to talking and texting, there are also video players that can distract a driver, as well as headphone use, which can make traffic sounds fall on deaf ears.
Another step truck drivers can take is to make sure their trucks are properly maintained. In Pennsylvania's varied climate, this means making sure trucks are equipped for use on slippery winter roads as well as in stifling summer heat. Brakes in particular must always be in good shape in order for a driver to be able to navigate the four seasons safely.
Even if a truck is in great operating shape, a head-on collision can occur if a driver isn't paying attention or is driving aggressively. Trucks require more time to stop than the average car, so tailgating is especially risky for commercial vehicle operators. In addition, drivers must carefully monitor which cars are entering their blind spots, as a simple turn can wreak havoc if a car is caught in a truck's "no-zone."
While passenger car drivers must also exercise caution around trucks, commercial drivers must be extremely safety-oriented. In the future, we will cover some common tips for passenger car drivers which may help them avoid semi-truck accidents.
Source: Just Drive PA, "
," accessed Nov. 1, 2014