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Will pilot program lead to reduction of truck accidents?

The trucking industry is fraught with dangers for drivers. In some cases these dangers extend to other drivers on the road as well when they lead to a crash occurring. This is an issue throughout the nation as according to 2012 statistics, around 317,000 crashes that year. That same year, 3,921 individuals died in crashes involving trucks.

There are multiple reasons why a truck accident might occur. Drowsy driving is one of those reasons. Recognizing this is an important issue, there are currently federal regulations in place that limit how long a driver can be behind the wheel before he or she must take a break. These rules dictate that:

  • Truckers cannot work more than 14 hours each day or drive more than 11 hours a day.
  • Truck drivers cannot work more than 70 hours a week.
  • Upon reaching the weekly limit a driver rest for the period of 34 consecutive hours.

A pilot project being worked on by Wisconsin’s neighboring state, Minnesota aims to get drowsy truck drivers off the road quickly and into a place where the driver can relax. The state received a $2 million grant to focus on reducing the number of such crashes that occurred. They are seeking to accomplish this by making information regarding when trucks can park to rest, easily available to truck drivers. This is accomplished via the use of new signs and cameras installed so that is easy to see where longer parking is available for trucks.

Whether the pilot will lead to a reduction in the number of truck accidents that occur remains to be seen.

Source: Star Tribune, “The Drive: U pilot project helps truckers combat drowsy driving," Tim Harlow, Sept. 22, 2014

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