When traveling in Illinois, drivers no doubt pass tractor-trailers. Even just passing alongside one of these big-rigs, one cannot help but notice the sheer size difference between a passenger vehicle and an 18-wheeler. For some, even just this realization is frightening.
Even though the 2011 fatal accident rate was the lowest since 1949, the number of truck occupant deaths jumped nearly 20 percent. Six hundred and thirty-five truck occupants were killed in 2011, compared with 530 in 2010.
Big rigs may be challenging to drive, but it is possible to drive them safely. Just ask Mr. Powell, a Griffith, Illinois, truck driver who has driven trucks for 40 years and has never been in a truck accident. The driver recently received a Four Million Mile Award for driving that far without a single accident.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has been pushing to mandate electronic onboard recorders (EOBR) throughout the trucking industry. EOBR's are electronic logs and global positioning systems that automatically record where a truck is and how many hours it has been on the road.
Motor carriers - buses and other vehicles that carry passengers - are subject to fines and other enforcement actions when they operate unsafely. Companies with repeated violations and truck accidents can be forced off the road by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a regulatory agency.