Everyone who shares the highways should be invested in the safety of CMV operators. Truckers are constantly delivering essential goods throughout the country, and as we’ve learned during the current pandemic, CMV drivers are crucial to our ability to keep our towns, communities, and cities functioning effectively.
Unfortunately, CMV drivers also face a fair amount of risk in their profession. The statistics on crashes involving CMV drivers is part of the reason why the FMCSA introduced the clearinghouse rule, which requires CMV drivers and their employers to register the driver’s alcohol and drug violations on a federal clearinghouse. The new rule also requires CMV employers to check a driver's record against the database before making hiring decisions.
Let’s take a closer look at the data on CMV driver safety from FMCSA.gov, and see if there are any areas that still need to be addressed.
It’s natural to assume that the most destructive, fatal accidents occur on highways when speed is maximized. While fatal highway accidents absolutely do occur, a shocking 61% of fatal crashes involving a CMV occurred in rural areas. This can be due to a number of factors including tighter roadways, careless driving, and distractions caused by wildlife or terrain.
This is a difficult issue to address, as rural areas change significantly from state to state, and each will have a different set of civil engineers and government officials involved in making any decisions to ensure driver safety. This statistic is important for CMV operators to keep in mind when driving through rural areas.
For all of the measures being taken by the FMCSA, local governments, and highway safety coalitions, there is still an average of 34,000 fatal CMV accidents per year. Almost everyone is in agreement that this number is far too high, but not everyone is in agreement in regards to how to curb that number.
It can be tremendously difficult to address specific areas of concern when looking at a statistic like this, as distracted driving, intoxicated driving, and the roadways themselves are all changing variables. This is another statistic that CMV drivers should keep in mind to help themselves drive safely.
Distracted driving is well established as a significant problem among all drivers on the roadway. As smartphones have become borderline necessities for people of all ages, the tendency to get distracted is growing exponentially. CMV drivers tend to be well trained on the dangers of distracted driving, but it's the civilian drivers and unavoidable distractions that CMV professionals need to be worried about.
An extremely high 11,000 truck crashes involved other drivers being distracted, or naturally occurring disasters taking place outside of the truck. This is why it’s more important than ever for CMV drivers to pay extra attention on the road.
The new FMCSA clearinghouse rule is designed to help keep all drivers safe, and reduce some of these startling statistics. If you want to learn more about the clearinghouse rule, check out the eLearning courses and resources of Clearinghouse Navigator.