Maricopa County leads state in truck accident deaths

Accidents that involve large trucks claimed 30 lives in Maricopa County in 2013 and 63 lives statewide.

Records from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that 849 people died in motor vehicle accidents in Arizona in 2013. Of those deaths, 63 of them happened in crashes that involved large trucks.

Maricopa County was the site of nearly half of the state's deaths in large-truck involved wrecks. Maricopa County lost a total of 398 lives in all accidents that year, and large trucks were involved in 30 of them. The county with the next highest number of fatalities from these accidents was Pinal where 8 people died in such crashes.

A sad but ongoing reality

Even the loss of one life is tragic, but when one county loses 30 people to one type of accident, clearly a problem is at hand. Drug and alcohol use among truckers are one of the safety issues that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is currently working to address.

The Bulk Transporter reported that the FMCSA recently announced it will continue its random substance testing of commercial drivers. The testing was extended because of a growing number of positive test results . The agency believes the problem requires further monitoring.

In addition, the Commercial Carrier Journal provided details on a new process for screening drivers before they are hired. The new screening will include a database of all pertinent driver records, including substance test results. Refusals to participate in tests will also be recorded and will preclude drivers from working in driving positions.

Focus also needed on driver fatigue

In addition to alcohol or drug use, fatigue among truck drivers gives rise to more safety concerns. Truckers became subject to new requirements for break periods in early 2013, but the change sparked quite a controversy. According to Supply Chain Digest, the issue has recently seen the U.S. Congress put the rule on hold until further studies are completed.

If enough data is not compiled before the end of September 2015, OverdriveOnline.com indicates that the Congress-issued stay could be extended.

Arizona residents deserve safe roads

Every person in Arizona deserves the right to feel safe when driving or walking on area roads. The dangers that trucks pose to innocent victims is real. When a passenger vehicle, motorcyclist or pedestrian is hit by a tractor trailer or other commercial vehicle, victims are urged to contact an attorney right away.