Truckers Reality Show Reveals Hazards of Big Rig Hauling — On Any Road

The History channel is running its fourth season of Ice Road Truckers — a reality show set in Alaska that follows a handful of steel-nerved truck drivers hauling heavy loads over mountains and frozen bodies of water. Their work is not for the faint of heart (to say the least), nor is watching them do it. They drive all night, for hundreds of miles, through blinding snowstorms, in sub-zero temperatures, up and down ice-covered mountain roads to deliver their cargo (which is often oversized and hazardous).

Driving conditions for the ice road truckers are extreme. However the show depicts some of the same commercial truck driving hazards that truck drivers and other motorists experience here in the Lower 48. Common causes of highway truck accidents in Maryland and elsewhere in the U.S. include:

  • Driver Fatigue (including driving without mandatory rest breaks)
  • Faulty or poorly maintained equipment
  • Difficulty breaking or swerving in time to avoid other motorists
  • Improperly secured cargo that may shift or become loose

Large Truck Accident Statistics
As Baltimore County, Maryland truck accident injury lawyers know, you don’t have to be driving on an icy mountain precipice to be involved in a deadly highway truck accident.

The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that in 2006, large trucks were involved in 368,000 traffic accidents. In those commercial truck accidents, 4,995 people were killed and 106,000 were injured. The DOT defines “large truck” as one that carries a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of more than 10,000 pounds.

The Maryland Department of Transportation reported that in 2003, there were 8,000,000 (that’s 8 million) registered large trucks in the United States — a figure expected to grow 70% to 80% in the next two decades.

Sources:
U.S. Dept. of Transportation, Commercial Motor Vehicle Facts
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, November 2007
Maryland Dept. of Transportation, Truck Parking Study, Jan. 2005

Related Web Resources

History.com: Ice Road Truckers

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration: Rules & Regulations

Maryland Department of Transportation: Commercial Vehicle Operations