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What Michigan can learn from Georgia on reducing truck accidents

July 18, 2015 by Steven M. Gursten

Gov. Snyder, we can do more to stop dangerous trucking companies

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal

I have a suggestion for Gov. Snyder on how to reduce the number of truck accidents in Michigan and save a lot of lives.  My suggestion is that Michigan take a hard look at what Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal is doing in his state.

Gov. Deal has proposed for the state of Georgia to hire 60 new enforcement officers that would be specifically designated to commercial motor vehicle inspections. These officers will patrol corridors that are hot spots for truck accidents.

The move comes after several high-profile crashes in the state that has led to public and political outcry regarding the overall safety of local commercial motor vehicles and the lack of inspections.

In April and May, 10 people died in two separate Georgia truck accidents.

The Georgia Department of Public Safety and the Georgia Ports Authority are partnering to pay the $10 million for the additional officers, bringing the total to more than 290 officers.

In addition to adding officers, Georgia plans implement additional safety measures including:

  • The Georgia Targeting Aggressive Cars and Trucks Program (G-TACT) and Operation Safe Drive on I-95: This is a joint operation between Georgia law enforcement officers and their commercial vehicle enforcement counterparts in surrounding states that will educate drivers on how to decrease risky behavior and share the road safely with commercial trucks and buses. The program was funded with a grant from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
  • Ongoing partnerships with the trucking lobby: Including Georgia Motor Trucking Association and the Georgia Motorcoach Operators Association.
  • Compliance reviews and safety audits: On Georgia-based motor carriers by the Georgia Department of Public Safety’s Motor Carrier Compliance Division officers.
  • Increased and concentrated patrols: To enforce speeding, distracted driving and seat belt violations.
  • Enforcement to conduct Level 3 truck inspections: This type of inspection includes examination of the commercial driver’s license, medical examiner’s certificate, pre-trip inspection, driver’s record of duty status including hours of service, as well as seat belt, and hazardous materials/dangerous goods requirements.

Last year in Michigan:

  • There were 10,885 accidents involving commercial trucks.
  • There were 73 truck accident deaths.
  • There were 1,903 truck accident injuries.

– Source, Office of Highway Safety Planning Michigan Traffic Crash Facts

Where is our outcry?

More suggestions for Gov. Snyder on how to reduce the numbers of truck wrecks in Michigan

As I suggested after the Tracy Morgan truck accident, other integral ways to reduce truck accidents are:

  1. Increase truck insurance liability limits, which have been at $750,000 and not adjusted for inflation in more than 30 years. Increasing liability limits would hold trucking companies responsible when they neglect safety and cause preventable truck accidents that injure and kill innocent drivers.
  2. Strengthen medical evaluations, to better test for and detect medical conditions and drugs and alcohol in truck drivers.

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