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Kentucky Urges Truckers to Stick to Suitable Routes to Prevent Accidents

A tanker truck driving in traffic on a city road.

Drivers of large commercial trucks are obligated to drive on suitable routes to prevent truck accidents. But in Kentucky, long-haul truck drivers increasingly use rural secondary roads as shortcuts. This often causes significant concerns for other road users.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet (KYTC) and the Kentucky State Police Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division have actively highlighted this issue. They have asserted that truckers need to stick to routes suitable for their vehicle's size and weight. In KYTC District 1 in Paducah and Kentucky State Police Post 1 in Mayfield, officials are intensifying efforts to prevent semi-tractor trailers from using unsuitable rural roads.

Roads such as KY Hwy 286 in Ballard County have seen a significant rise in truck accidents. These roads are not designed for heavy cross-country trucks. In three years, KY Hwy 286 experienced 119 crashes, including 40 injury crashes and 5 fatalities. Many of these crashes involved large commercial trucks. These statistics highlight the risks of large trucks using these roads.

How are state officials enforcing suitable routes for large trucks?

Responding to this, the KYTC has installed "NO TRUCK" signs at strategic points, including the ends of KY 286 and at intersections with state highways, aiming to direct truck drivers to safer routes. Moreover, Commercial Vehicle Enforcement officers are stepping up patrols and enforcement, issuing many citations to those breaking the rules.

Professional drivers with a Commercial Driver's License (CDL) bear the legal responsibility to follow these regulations, using the National Truck Network. That includes a network of highways, bridges, and other suitable routes for large trucks. Courts have emphasized the importance of signage and enforcement in cases of rule violations.

Why are trucks accessing unsuitable roads?

The misuse of cell phone GPS mapping apps designed for passenger vehicles significantly contributes to this issue, often leading truck drivers onto unsuitable routes. These apps lack features such as low overpass alerts, narrow road warnings, and other large truck hazards. For example, truckers often mistakenly use the U.S. 45 Ohio River "Brookport" Bridge, unsuitable for commercial trucks, due to these apps.

KYTC advises truck drivers to use GPS units or map apps designed for over-the-road trucks, guiding them to the National Truck Network. This advice becomes crucial when detours are necessary, such as during major route blockages. KYTC is contacting websites popular among long-haul truckers, urging them to warn drivers about the risks of using inadequate phone map apps. The agency also offers a list of mapping systems and apps specifically for commercial trucks, seeking to prevent future incidents and improve road safety for everyone.

Why truck drivers must stick to suitable routes

There's a reason why truck drivers must only travel on suitable routes. They often pose serious dangers on unsuitable roads due to a combination of a truck's size and weight, road conditions, and the potential for increased crashes. Here are some common dangers:

  • Road and infrastructure damage: Large trucks are designed for highways and major roads that can support their weight. When they travel on smaller, less suitable roads, they can cause significant damage to the road surface and underlying infrastructure.
  • Increased accident risk: Narrow or winding roads, low bridges, or roads with steep inclines are not suited for large trucks. These conditions increase the risk of crashes such as rollovers, collisions, and incidents involving pedestrians.
  • Difficulty in maneuvering: Large trucks require more space to turn and maneuver. On unsuitable roads, this can lead to difficulties in turning or reversing, potentially causing traffic disruptions or accidents.
  • Impact on local communities: Large trucks on small roads can disrupt local communities. They can cause noise pollution and pose a risk to pedestrians, especially in residential areas.

What can I do if I'm injured by a large truck?

Truck drivers have an obligation to travel on suitable routes. When they fail to do so and cause a crash, they should be held accountable. If you or a loved one was injured in a truck accident in Kentucky, The Whaley Law Firm can thoroughly investigate the crash and fight to help you get the justice and financial compensation you deserve.

To schedule a free consultation, contact us online or call our Louisville office. Our law firm works on a contingency fee basis and won't charge you any upfront fees for our services. That means it costs you nothing to review your potential legal options, and if you hire us as your lawyer, you pay no fees unless we win your case.

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