Truck accidents in southwestern Pennsylvania

Between 2009 and 2013, Allegheny County experienced 23 vehicular fatalities in accidents involving large trucks.

Residents in Pittsburgh have no doubt heard news reports of truck accidents lately. WPXI.com provided details on two different incidents involving dump trucks. One crash saw a dump truck rear-end a city transit bus with multiple passengers on board. The accident occurred near Rankin Bridge and sent 12 people to the hospital for treatment.

In another accident, a 16-year old boy on a bicycle was taken to the hospital after being hit by a dump truck in the Brighton Heights area. After striking the boy, the truck continued and went down an embankment beyond a guardrail.

Statistics highlight the ongoing problem

Many accidents involving large trucks can result in fatalities. Information provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that in 2013, Pennsylvania experienced 1,208 total vehicular fatalities. Of those, 155 involved large trucks such as dump trucks, tractor-trailers and more.

Regional data shows that four people died in each of the following three counties-Butler County, Washington County and Westmoreland County. Beaver County experienced one truck-related death, as did Allegheny County.

That one fatality in Allegheny County represents a drop over the prior four years. In both 2012 and 2009, 12 people died each year in large truck collisions. In both 2010 and 2011, three people died each year in large truck accidents.

What is being done to improve safety?

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association is tackling two problems currently. Both driver fatigue and driver impairment are the subjects of recent actions.

The FMCSA attempted to change the rules governing when truckers and other commercial drivers needed to take breaks. The goal was to reduce truck driver fatigue.

Supply Chain Digest notes, however, that the U.S. Congress put this new rule on hold via a stay action until further data can be collected. OverdriveOnline.com explains that the original stay was to last until September 30, 2015 but can be extended if more time is needed.

According to the Commercial Carrier Journal, efforts to reduce impairment among commercial drivers have been met with more agreement. A new database will be developed that will house critical driver information. Substance test results and refusals will be among this information.

Additionally, Bulk Transporter indicates that the FMCSA will conduct substance tests randomly among drivers. Reports show that the number of drivers failing these tests has been on the rise.

Important tips for Pennsylvania residents

Accidents are a reality on the road. Certainly efforts to reduce them are important but it is also important to know what to do if an accident happens. Contacting an attorney promptly is always recommended.