With the Obama administration looking to review the safety record of the trucking industry and make changes to increase safety for both the truck drivers and everyone else on the road. A quick look at North Carolina shows how the finger pointing is rampant on both the industry side and the government over sight.
North Carolina is number six in the country for tractor trailer truck accidents. Based on data from the NC Highway Patrol, more than nine million trucks went through state weigh stations in 2009, however less than one percent of those trucks were given a safety inspection.
Problems such as bald tires, cracked rims, unsecured loads, and falsified log sheets are all ways that truckers are placing lives in danger. Each and every safety precaution for tractor trailers is written for a reason; the reason being that in some way, shape or form the failure to follow the maintenance and safety regulations is endangering lives.
When it comes to the thousands of trucks on the interstate each day, troopers in North Carolina said that they individually average about 25 inspections per week. This means that only a tiny fraction of the trucks on the road has been inspected for safety.
In North Carolina the weigh stations are open 16 hours a day 5 days a week, and many times there are no troopers on hand to handle inspections. Troopers claim that a lack of manpower and lack of certified inspectors is causing them to do the best that they can with the resources that they have.
Many truck drivers take pride in be
ing safe; they know that a safe vehicle will not only save other lives, but their own as well. While the state of North Carolina is coming in at number 6, the North Carolina Trucking Association works with the Highway Patrol and has won national awards for the commitment to safety and training.
Considering that tractor trailers often travel across the country, the trucks based in North Carolina aren’t necessarily the ones at fault for the terrible record of accidents in the state.
In 2009 more than half of the trucks inspected in the state had maintenance or safety violations. Of those trucks 12 percent were in such bad shape that they were pulled from the road immediately. It is important to realize as well that while trucks have maintenance and safety regulations, and may often be in-violation, not every big rig accident is caused by the truck or trucker. Tractor trailers are large and take longer to bring to a stop. They also require a wide turning radius, and have blind spots. The act of cutting in front of a semi truck, or following too closely, even passing too slowly can place a small car in a bad position.