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If the drivers have to be specially-trained, why are there still commercial vehicle accidents?


Good question, and one of the very things that researchers are looking into. There are a variety of different reasons.

First, human error is still a factor despite the specialized training. Commercial vehicle operators are often required to drive during nighttime hours, when research has shown that crashes are more likely. The drive for profit may make some drivers falsify their records or fail to immediately record and correct safety problems with their trucks, thinking that they’ll fix the problem “at the next stop.” Carriers, too, can feel the squeeze and respond by failing to adequately train drivers or carry out the necessary background check on prospective employees. Declining infrastructure can also contribute to accidents. Cash-strapped states may choose to fund other projects, leaving repairs to dangerous interchanges for another time. The vehicles themselves can be dangerous. Huge blind spots, called no-zones and increased stopping distances are an unfortunate side-effect of a large truck, bus or motor coach.

Finally, increasing commercial vehicle accidents may be an inevitable consequence of enforcement playing catch-up to the problem. Our economy’s demand for goods is strong and the projections show an increase, rather than a decrease, of commercial vehicles on the roads. Much of the research that is aimed at preventing accidents recognizes that continued roadside inspections, while important, can never be numerous enough to cover the enormous number of commercial vehicles on the road. Researchers are looking into more sophisticated, computerized tracking for the future.

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