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Ohio county resolves to curb heavy volume of truck accidents

Delaware County, a suburban area within the Columbus metropolitan region known for its rapidly growing population, is reportedly Ohio’s fastest growing county.

Coupled with impressive growth is a byproduct that county officials are watching warily and intent on doing something about, namely this: starkly growing numbers of commercial truck accidents and other commercial vehicle crash incidents — many of them fatal — involving county residents.

The problem is sufficiently concerning that officials have established the Delaware County Commercial Crash Task Force to probe the number, types and severity of truck crash incidents, as well as the key factors that may be involved in most of them.

Careless and otherwise dangerous types of driving behaviors by truck drivers certainly contribute to a number of those accidents. What task force investigators have found to be just as apparent, though, through study of nearly 800 commercial crashes in the county over a three-year period, is that driving mistakes by non-commercial drivers are the precipitating factors in many accidents.

In fact, researchers say that things like failure to maintain a sufficient distance from a truck, improper lane changing and failure to control a vehicle by a non-commercial driver feature heavily in about 60 percent of fatal crashes in the county involving trucks.

In seeking to minimize what she calls the “terrible tragedies on our roadways,” Jackie Bain, the safety coordinator at the Delaware General Health District, has announced a number of safety initiatives that the county plans to introduce.

Among other things, the county will be inviting drivers to actually hop into commercial trucks to cultivate a new perspective and think about important points like blind spots and stopping distances from the viewpoint of a trucker.

Source: Columbus Local News, “Task force studies spike in commercial vehicle crashes,” Kristina Thomas, March 26, 2012