Preventable or not: Doe all shook up

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Fatalities involving large trucks declined slightly to 5,212 in 2005 from 5,235 in 2004, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The number of people injured in large truck crashes decreased 1.7 percent to 114,000.

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration adopted, with minor changes, its interim regulations as published in the Federal Register in August 2002 relating to enforcement of operating authority requirements. Among the minor changes adopted is clarification that operating authority means registration as required by statute. For a copy of the final rule, go to this site and search Docket No. 13015.

Highway Watch said that more than 100,000 transportation professionals were trained in the program over the summer, pushing overall enrollment to more than 400,000. Formed by the American Trucking Associations in 1998 as a safety awareness program for truck drivers, Highway Watch now provides anti-terrorism and safety training to the entire surface transportation sector under a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

FMCSA is inviting comments until Nov. 27 on its proposal to implement National Transportation Safety Board recommendations that motorcoach operators provide pre-trip safety information to their passengers. FMCSA, in conjunction with stakeholders, has developed a basic plan for all motorcoach companies to implement a passenger safety awareness program. For more information, go to this site and search Docket No. 21324.

On a sunny, pleasant October morning in Memphis, Tenn., John Doe had just finished unloading a shipment of automotive parts at a local dealership and was navigating his medium-duty straight truck northbound through moderate traffic on Elvis Presley Boulevard (a four-lane, divided highway) at the posted speed limit of 45 mph.

Noticing the road’s name on a street sign, Doe switched his satellite receiver to Elvis Radio, and soon he heard the familiar guitar intro to “Jailhouse Rock.” “Now that’s music,” Doe said to himself as he moved to the inside lane to prepare for his left turn at the next intersection. “There’s no one like Elvis around today, and there’ll never be another one like him again.”

At that moment, young hotshot Blunt Powter – who was blasting his Panic! At The Disco CD (“Elvis Presley Boulevard? Get over it!” he sarcastically muttered to himself) – hastily exited the Taco King drive-thru in his high-performance, 2007 Dodge Charger, crossed the southbound lanes like a bullet and, without hesitation, attempted to accelerate onto the northbound side. Alas, Powter falsely assumed that Doe’s rig was still in the outside lane and