Since the 1990s, drivers of commercial trucks have been subject to drug and alcohol testing. However, privacy protections existed, limiting the release of and access to drivers' drug and alcohol testing results. Now, in an effort to improve both reporting and safety, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has announced a rule that will create a driver database and mandate that carriers report truck drivers' failed drug test results. In addition, under the new rule, employers will have to search the database prior to hiring drivers.
Sharing the road with large trucks can be a frightening experience. Unfortunately, this fear is not unfounded, since these behemoths of the road can outweigh smaller passenger vehicles by 30 times. Additionally, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety noted that when fatal truck accidents occurred, it is the occupants of the smaller vehicle that are killed 97 percent of the time.
It was almost exactly one year ago when actor-comedian Tracy Morgan and several of his friends were hit by a Wal-Mart tractor-trailer while traveling on the New Jersey Turnpike after a show. Morgan's close friend and mentor, James "Jimmy Mack" McNair, was killed. Morgan sustained broken bones and a traumatic brain injury from which he has been unable to fully recover. Two other friends were also injured in the wreck.
In a move that could make each work day easier and safer for New Jersey truck drivers, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced that a time-consuming daily paperwork requirement for the trucking industry has been dropped. Effective Dec. 18, truck drivers are no longer required to file pre- and post-trip vehicle inspection reports in cases when no violations or safety issues are discovered during the inspection.
According to authorities, 10 people were injured in an accident that occurred on the New Jersey Turnpike outer roadway on Dec. 17 at 7:49 a.m. The four vehicle collision occurred when a tractor-trailer that was traveling in the right center lane attempted to change lanes into the left center lane, causing a chain reaction series of crashes. The truck crashed into the back side of a bus traveling in the High Occupancy vehicle lane; two other trucks were also involved in the crash.
It's highly unlikely that anyone driving down a highway or interstate won't come across a large commercial truck in their commute. In fact, these tractor-trailers make up 4 percent of all vehicles that are legally registered on America's highways. Some unlucky New Jersey drivers may learn the hard way, though, that these trucks actually cause 8 percent of all fatal highway accidents. Hours of service rules are meant to minimize the potentiality for such accidents.
New Jersey motorists may want to drive more defensively when they're sharing the state's highways with large trucks. That's because the number of fatal truck crashes increased nationwide in 2012.
According to court documents, Walmart claims Tracy Morgan, an actor and comedian who suffered critical injuries in a June accident on the New Jersey Turnpike, is in large part to blame for the injuries he suffered during the incident, which involved a semi-truck belonging to the big box retailer. In response to a personal injury lawsuit filed by Morgan in July, Walmart recently filed documents stating that neither Morgan nor the other passengers in Morgan's limo bus were wearing seat belts at the time of the incident.
Three people died in a truck accident on a New Jersey highway on Aug. 27. At least five other vehicles were involved, though only four people, including the truck driver, were sent to a local hospital to be treated for minor injuries.
A New Jersey man faced charges for a fatal tractor trailer accident on the New Jersey Turnpike on June 9. The truck accident occurred at about 5 p.m. in Carlstadt while the truck's driver, a 55-year-old Union City man, was allegedly using his cellphone. Police announced on Aug. 1 that the man faced charges of second-degree vehicular manslaughter and third-degree hindering apprehension along with summonses for reckless driving and improper use of a cellphone.