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The morning commute can sometimes be a scary, especially on those busy weekend runs. Weekend traffic is ALWAYS the worst. A pair of big rig semi trucks crashed in the North and East Bay area. The crash caused some major headaches for those morning commuters on Friday morning. The two freeways had to be shut down for hours after the crash.
In Walnut Creek, a semi-truck reportedly crashed into the center divider on the northbound side of the Interstate 680. This was just south of Highway 24 interchange. According to the California Highway Patrol (CHP) It happened early in the morning, around 6 o’clock.
The wreck was bad enough that it reportedly sent debris flying into the southbound lanes. Then the truck began leaking fuel, which is kind of unfortunately expected when there’s a crash. According to the California Highway Patrol, just minutes after the crash, the big rig caught fire and then was quickly “fully engulfed” in flames. One of the calls into dispatch described the big rig as engulfed as well.
Accidents are sadly almost inevitable when it comes to a big rig crash. This fiery crash is sadly no different. According to the Fire Marshal, Robert Marshall, there were four people injured during the crash. One of those people were the driver of the big rig. Three other people who were hit with debris were injured on the southbound side of the freeway.
Luckily no one was killed, which is probable when it comes to big rig crashes. One of the injured people suffered a broken leg and another person suffered from a head injury due to rocks crashing through their windshield.
When you hear of a big rig crash, you automatically feel your heart begin to pound a little faster. They’re scary. Of course any crash is scary, but usually with a big rig crash, someone is seriously hurt or dead.
Unfortunately the number of deadly accidents in relation to big rig tires is on the rise. Tires are a big factor when it comes to vehicle safety.
According to recent studies, most of the tires on the big rigs are not actually meant to handle the maximum constant speeds over 75 mph. However, truckers all across the United States are exceeding that limit. The Federal investigators think that the excessive speeds are leading to crashes, they have made a pledge to find a way to reverse the disturbing trend.
According to studies, between the years of 2009 and 2013, the heavy trucks and buses were responsible for around 14,000 fatal accidents. And according to the Government figures, 223 of those were related to heavy truck tires. Which doesn’t seem like a lot compared to 14,000 but that’s over 200 cases that could have been PREVENTED just by using the right tires or speeds.
Just last month, a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) investigation into multiple Michelin tire blowouts, during their research found that high speeds and lack of maintenance were to blame. Which, it’s understandable that truckers are in a hurry, they get paid for their hours and per load, the more loads they get the more they get paid and when you have a family, you’re worried about providing for them.
The agency staff has pointed to the state laws that claim that the “more likely explanation of failures is the increase in maximum speed limits in several states”.
The NHTSA states that no truck tire is rated to go higher than 81 mph, and most of the tires are actually rated to stay at 75 mph. However there are 16 states that have truck speeds higher than 75 mph. Four states even go as high as 80 mph.
The American Trucking Association (ATA) has been warning of these tire dangers and speeds for years.
American Trucking Association executive vice president, Dave Osiecki’s statement:
Raising speed limits at the state level is a bad idea beyond 65 mph.
He also said that the industry has been trying to make the federal government to hopefully regulate the speed with the use of electronic limiters. This would put a “cap” on a truck’s top speed at 65 mph. Right now though, around 70% of trucking companies actually limit their drivers. However, it’s that thirty percent of companies that don’t that we want regulated. It’s just to be safe, it’s not hurting anyone.
Osiecki’s Statement About Limiting Big Rig Speeds:
Sixty-five mph versus 75 mph operating speed — the stopping distance is significantly different. So it’s a win, win, win, if we in the industry control the speed of our trucks and we get the help of our government.
The NHTSA said that it is working on making new rules that will require those special limiters. It’s working to change the labeling requirements on tires that will also include a tire’s maximum safe speed as well. Bot bad ideas at all, hopefully they can take the right precautions and get these rules implemented immediately. We definitely need to have safer road ways, and a great place to start is the big rigs who travel the most on the roads.
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