Published On: Thu, Aug 24th, 2017

An Incoming Federal Law Might Cause More Accidents In California

While there is much focus on the political aspects of Washington and many developing situations regarding geopolitics across the regions of the Middle East and Asia, we sometimes forget that normal life can be just as dangerous. On average, American drivers are more than willing to put almost 14,000 miles on their vehicles each year, and even more so, for those who use the highways regularly. There are so many accidents on highways, and with the modern technology that is coming out in standard cars, you’d think the number of injuries would have slowed down by now.

But, with a population of around 320 million, it’s almost inevitable that there will be horrific highway accidents every day. The individual is more empowered to get themselves out of harm, with modern ABS braking systems, radar proximity warning, lane departure, and so on. But the law is the law, and should a new federal law become part of the fabric of California, accidents could rise sharply.

Photo by – Lawrence Jackson

 

The current situation

California is the most heavily populated state in the entire country with almost 40 million citizens. The proposed law would allow truckers, to not take as careful an approach to their long hours of constant driving and navigating on the highway, as they would other states. In fact, they would enter into a new domain, one they crossed state lines, should this law be passed. Under the Californian law, everyone who is an assigned worker on the highway, including truck drivers, must take at least one half hour rest break, during a period of five hours of driving. If they were to be on the road for approximately 4 hours, they would need to take a mandatory 10-minute break instead.

 

Premising the reasoning

Current California laws are comparable with states such as Kentucky and Colorado, which have long stretching highways but also have narrow, and twisting country lanes that require an alert driver at the wheel. Although California does have similar countryside, with large mountains and narrow roads, there aren’t as much as the aforementioned states, and instead, the largest cities in the state are interconnected with each other. Proponents say California has changed beyond recognition, and could possibly, introduce better laws that cut down delivery time of products.

Source – Randy Heinitz

Proposed incoming law

Current California law mandates an additional meal and more rest breaks that would go beyond what current federal law requires. What’s being put forward by legislators is, in fact, a relaxing of current state law, according to the Truck Safety Coalition. This would allow truckers are coming into the state to have fewer rest breaks, and fewer meals to rejuvenate their energy levels. Apparently, this would be to accelerate the economy, as truckers are under increasing pressure to deliver their loads to their destinations quicker. This could cause the legal loophole of truckers inadvertently not being held to state practices without state law has jurisdiction over oncoming drivers. Essentially, California is being seen to be taking too soft an approach to trucker time schedules, and legislators want to go in the opposite direction.

Credit – Ragesoss

 

Car drivers have reason for concern

Last year, in 2016, road fatalities jumped up by a staggering 4% and now stand at roughly 40,000. The majority of these deaths are car drivers, due to texting and speeding. With the combination of texting increasing and truck drivers potentially being allowed to drive on while knowingly fatigued, this is causing great concern for California residents. In the same year 4000 accidents involved, large trucks, leading to almost 600 deaths and almost 1500 injuries of varying degrees. It’s little wonder that it makes perfect sense drivers will acquire the services of a truck accident attorney, some time in the future. When you have been involved in such a monumental collision, of several tons of steel and twisted rubber, you’re perfectly within your right to charge toward legal action; especially if you’ve suffered permanent damage.

Image source – pxhere

 

How drivers can be more aware

  Accidents are like catastrophes in the fact that no one single thing will cause them, but a series of chain events that all lead on from each other does. Drivers should stick to the basic codes of conduct of safe driving. If you spot another driver weaving and you happen to be behind them, back off and give them room. If you can see in your rear view mirror that a truck or car is moving from side to side and they have trouble keeping their distance and perhaps even brake really late behind you, switch lanes at the first opportunity. Of course, it goes without saying, that you should be following the speed limit because it’s there for a reason. Keeping checking your side mirrors and in fact, there are modern mirrors you can purchase that also highlight your blind spot, so you can see it without needing to turn your head around. It’s not very smart to put yourself in between two trucks, regardless of whether you want to drive in the slow lane or not.

 

What to do if you spot danger

Nobody wants to be put in a position where they have to involve themselves in what looks like a normal everyday, occurrence. However, if you spot the signs of bad truck driving and you can quite clearly see veering from side to side, you should take to take down the details of the truck without endangering yourself. When pulling up at a red light, if you can see the driver has closed their eyes in a bid to get some rest, or perhaps are eating or texting while they drive, again take down the description of the truck and the plate. Notify the police that you think this truck is posing a health hazard to all others on the road. They will ask you relevant information such as where is it heading and the description of the driver. Pretty soon, they can pull a dangerous truck driver over and do the proper exhaustion tests. You never know, you could end up saving someone’s or multiple lives with just a sharp eye.

Should this new law come in, proponents from all sides might argue this puts highways users at an increased risk. The majority of car drivers are the ones who are mainly killed on the highway, so even though a truck might cause a crash, the trucker has more of a chance of walking away. Contact the right attorney if you’re ever in such a situation and give the details of one to friends and family. Keep your wits about you as nothing will keep you safer than you driving style and awareness.

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