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What causes semi truck accidents?

In the state of Maryland, 258 people died in large truck accidents from 2009 to 2013. Of those deaths, 43 occurred in Prince Georges County.

Motor vehicle accidents involving tractor trailers and other large vehicles operated commercially are a serious problem in Maryland. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, these crashes claimed 258 lives statewide from 2009 through 2013.

Prince Georges County residents should be on alert as they led the state with more of these deaths than any other county. Detailed data shows the following:

  • In Prince Georges County, 43 people died in large truck accidents.
  • In Baltimore County, 29 people died in large truck accidents.
  • In Harford County, 23 people died in large truck accidents.
  • In Anne Arundel County, 22 people died in large truck accidents.

Howard, Montgomery, Washington and Charles Counties were next in the list with 16, 15, 13 and 12 fatalities, respectively.

Many serious risk factors

Among the causes of trucking wrecks is substance use. This can be alcohol or drugs. Soon, a new drug and alcohol clearinghouse rule will be put into effect by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The Commercial Carrier Journal outlines that many elements will be involved in governing the hire of new drivers specifically related to substance testing and recording.

A driver who does not consent to pre-hire drug and alcohol testing will be ineligible for driving jobs. The results of every test, whether positive or negative, will be stored in a database that must be reviewed by employers before drivers can be hired. Annual record reviews will also be mandated.

Bulk Transporter notes also that the FMCSA will keep conducting random substance tests of drivers already hired.

In addition to impairment, truck driver fatigue is getting attention at a federal level. Supply Chain Digest provides information about a new rule originally put into effect in 2013 that was designed to reduce fatigue. The hours of service rule as it was called changed the rest requirements for truckers.

However, the rule was not universally accepted within the transportation industry. Congress put the rule on hold in order for additional research to be conducted. That has now happened and the FMCSA is in the process of compiling the data. According to JOC.com, the report may be available before the end of 2015.

What help is available to accident victims

While the federal government and others within the transportation industry continue to find ways to improve safety, motorists in Maryland need help. When an accident involving a large commercial truck or other vehicle happens, contacting an attorney should be one of the first things that victims or family members do.

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The firm of Reinstein, Glackin, Patterson & Herriott, LLC, practices law in Bowie, Maryland. It works with clients in the cities of Bowie, Columbia, Annapolis, Crofton, Upper Marlboro, Odenton, Glenn Dale, La Plata, Dunkirk, Prince Frederick, Severna Park, Hyattsville, Clinton, Silver Spring and Forestville, and in these counties: Prince George's County, Howard County, Anne Arundel County, St. Mary's County, Charles County and Montgomery County.

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