Research and investigative evidence have shown that driver error is the leading cause of fatal truck crashes. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the agency responsible for regulating the safety of the U.S. trucking industry, updated its safety tips to commercial truck drivers last fall on its website. These tips only amplify the fact that careless big rig driver action can turn deadly.
Distracted Commercial Truck Driver
The first tip is to pay attention to the road ahead. Unfortunately, when truckers are distracted and lose focus on traffic, too often calamity occurs.
A commercial truck driver may reach for a drink or something to eat and take their eyes off the road. A glimpse at a billboard may be enough to cause a crash. And of course cell phones distract truck drivers just as they do drivers of passenger vehicles. But when big rigs crash they can cause extensive damage and injury. That’s why federal law prohibits commercial truckers from using hand-held cell phones will driving.
The FMCSA warns truck drivers to slow down, especially during times of bad weather or hazardous road conditions. The agency notes that speeding while navigating a curve or ramp can lead to a dangerous truck rollover. Speeding is a major factor in truck crashes, as well as in most motor vehicle accidents. The latest data provided by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration shows that speeding was a factor in 37 percent of all Missouri traffic deaths in 2017.
Stay sharp is another federal safety tip for over-the-road truckers. Fatigued truck drivers are dangerous. The FMCSA warns commercial truck drivers of taking prescription and over-the-counter medication that can cause drowsiness before hitting the road.
Tired Truck Drivers Who Cause Fatal Accidents
But just the job itself – spending hour after hour on the highway – can wear out truckers. That’s why there are federal rules that dictate how long truckers can drive each day and each week, and when and for how long they must rest. Truckers who knowingly ignore these Hours of Service rules and drive while overly tired place others on the road at risk for a fatal truck wreck.
These tips also include caution for truck drivers approaching highway work zones, mentioning that large commercial trucks are involved in a greater portion of fatal work zone crashes compared to all fatal traffic accidents. Truck crashes in work zones, with congested spacing caused by closing and merging lanes and workers lining driving areas, can be especially catastrophic.
Most commercial truckers are aware of these safety driving tips and follow them. But when a trucker is careless, innocent victims can pay a horrible price.
If you were seriously injured or lost a loved one in a crash caused by a commercial truck driver, speak with a truck accident attorney to determine your legal rights for just compensation from those responsible.
The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.
Authored by Gray, Ritter & Graham, P.C., posted in Blog January 8, 2019