Truckers and their employers in Oklahoma should know that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration released some disturbing data during the 2019 Transportation Research Board’s annual meeting. The organization found that the percentage of fatal crashes involving at least one large truck increased each year from 2015 to 2017. The percentage of large truck occupant fatalities rose during that same period.

In particular, the percentage of fatal large truck crashes that took place in work zones went up each of those three years. From 2016 to 2017, there also was an increase in the percentage and number of deadly large truck and/or bus crashes. Yet truckers can stem the tide of deaths through safe driving practices.

Trucks afford a high visual horizon, allowing truckers to warn the drivers behind them of dangers. For example, truck drivers can use their turn signals ahead of time when merging for a work zone as well as use their flashers when facing slowed or stopped traffic.

Cell phones and other distractions are among the top five driver-related factors in fatal large truck crashes. Truckers are advised to adjust their seat, mirror and radio before departing. If their employers ban all phone use, they should keep their devices out of sight. If hands-free phone use is allowed, truckers should ensure that their phones do not slide or fall.

Many truck accidents are caused by the drivers of passenger vehicles. In cases where the trucker is at fault, though, victims will want to consider speaking with a lawyer and filing a personal injury claim. An attorney might help by bringing in crash investigators, medical experts and other third parties to gather proof of the defendant’s negligence and measure the extent of the plaintiff’s injuries. A successful claim may cover medical expenses, lost wages and other losses.

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