Truck driver fatigue is a serious danger on Montana roads. When over-the-road truckers drive too long without rest, their alertness and reaction times are adversely affected. In a worst-case scenario, a trucker can fall asleep at the wheel. When a large semi truck is involved in a collision with a smaller vehicle, the occupants of the smaller vehicle can be killed or suffer serious injuries.
Large 18-wheel trucks are a common sight on Montana highways. But when a passenger car is involved in a collision with a semi truck, the results are often tragic for the occupants of the car. Because of their size and weight, large trucks can demolish a smaller vehicle when they hit it, resulting in injury or death to those inside.
The trucking industry is important to Montana farmers, ranchers and businesses. But some argue the trucking industry puts profits over safety. In 2012, big trucks were involved in 333,000 crashes, according to data from the National Transportation Safety Board. Those accidents resulted in 3,921 deaths and injured over 104,000 people. Recently truck driver fatigue, one of the most critical safety issues for long-haul truckers, has become a national political issue.
The Montana Highway Patrol is continuing to investigate an accident in which a 23-year-old Busby, Montana woman was struck and killed by a vehicle as she walked along U.S. Highway 212 recently. The woman was walking with two men at the time of the accident, and they have said they believe she was struck by a semi truck. Unfortunately the vehicle that hit her did not stop, and officials say the chances of it ever being identified are slim.
A collision between a passenger car and a semi truck can have dire results for the occupants of the car. A tractor trailer can crush the average automobile in a wreck. In addition, when a semi truck is involved in an accident, the forces involved are so great that the initial collision often triggers a chain reaction involving other vehicles. This appears to be what happened in a violent truck accident that claimed the life of a 21-year-old Montana woman recently.
Truckers driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs are a deadly menace on Montana roads and throughout the nation. Late in June, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which enforces federal trucking regulations, announced it had taken 287 commercial truck and bus drivers off the road in its annual enforcement sweep, conducted in April and May of this year. Enforcement actions were also brought against 128 of the companies that employed the drivers.