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Reducing accident and personal injury rates goal of new truck driver laws

Large commercial trucks such as tractor-trailers, semi-trucks and more pose unique hazards to other motorists on Manhattan and New York City area roadways. The combination of their large size and the speed with which they can travel give truck accidents a high chance of resulting in serious personal injury or even death.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s statistics for New York County that were collected for the year 2011 indicate that close to 22 percent of vehicular fatalities happened in accidents that involved at least one large truck. County-wide, there were 46 traffic deaths in 2011 and 10 of those resulted from truck-involved crashes.

The truth about large truck accidents

Vehicle crashes are a very large percentage of serious personal injury cases in Manhattan and around the nation. Many factors can contribute to the causes of accidents from automobile malfunction to drunk driving.

New York data from the Department of Motor Vehicles report that a total of 10,345 wrecks occurred throughout the state that year. Some of the documented causes and rates of occurrence include:

  • Loss of consciousness played a part in 36 crashes
  • Fatigue on the part of drivers contributed to 43 accidents
  • Drivers falling asleep at the wheel happened in 116 wrecks
  • Driver distraction was a named factor in 1,867 collisions

Out of the total 10,345 truck accidents, 83 of those resulted in 92 fatalities. Driver distraction and truck driver fatigue are noted causes of some of the accidents.

Accident causes directly addressed in new laws

Effective October 28, 2013, a new law became effective that is designed directly to reduce distraction in truck drivers and, as a result, reduce the number of accidents, injuries and deaths. Commercial truck drivers are not allowed to use mobile phones in any handheld mode at all while their vehicles are running.

Personal vehicle operators are still able to text or use cell phones without needing hands-free operation if stopped at a light, stop sign or other situation with their ban being only while vehicles are actually moving.

Truck drivers that operate their vehicles on interstate routes have already been following such a law but now the state of New York has made this a law for drivers within the state alone as well.

Distracted driving is not the only factor that has been addressed with new laws. All truck drivers are now subject to new guidelines for working hours and conditions that are aimed at limiting driver fatigue. These include reduced maximum work week hours and new rules on the duration and frequency of breaks.

What you can do if you are involved in a truck accident

Anyone who is affected by an accident involving a large truck should seek legal help. The level of serious injury or other consequences that can result in these situations along with the involvement of sometimes large companies makes the need for appropriate legal counsel very important.