Dangers of Large Truck Accidents

Earlier this week, the Oklahoma Criminal Defense blog looked at fatal industrial accidents.  Statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that the leading cause of fatal work injuries are highway incidents, accounting for 1,044 of the 4,690 work-related deaths in 2010.  Furthermore, the Bureau of Labor Statistics includes driver/sales workers and truck drivers among the ten occupations with the highest fatal work injury rates. Though drivers themselves are at risk of injury or death, others involved in a large truck (those with a gross vehicle weight rating greater than 10,000 pounds) accident may suffer even greater risk of catastrophic or fatal injury.  The most recent statistics of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), covering the year 2010, reveal that 337 truck occupants were killed in single-vehicle accidents, while 192 were killed in multi-vehicle accidents, for a total of 529 truck occupants killed in large truck accidents.  However, truck occupants fared significantly better passengers and drivers of other vehicles involved in large truck accidents.  Nearly 2,800 occupants of other vehicles were killed in a multi-vehicle accident involving a large truck, and 356 non-occupants were killed in trucking accidents. Sometimes called 18-wheelers, tractor trailers, semi trucks, or big rigs, these trucks are among the largest moving vehicles on the nation's highways.  Their size and speed can make them deadly obstacles for drivers and passengers.  In 2008, the NHTSA reported that 380,000 large trucks were involved in traffic crashes, resulting in more than 90,000 injuries.  That same year, says the NHTSA, "One out of nine traffic fatalities . . .  resulted from a collision involving a large truck." Nearly all motor vehicle accidents are the result of driver error, and large truck accidents are no exception:  87.2% are caused by driver error, 10.1% are caused by vehicle malfunction, and 2.3% are caused by some other environmental factor.  The top ten driver-reported causes of 18-wheeler accidents include:

  • Brake failure
  • Travelling too fast for conditions
  • Driver unfamiliar with roadway
  • Roadway problems
  • Over-the-counter drug use
  • Inadequate surveillance
  • Fatigue
  • Work pressure from carrier
  • Driver made illegal maneuver
  • Driver inattention
Of course, the previous list of accident causes are reported by truck drivers themselves, who may be unwilling to acknowledge their own role in causing a crash.  As many as one in four truck drivers report that they have fallen asleep at the wheel at least once in the month prior to being surveyed. If you have been injured or someone you love has been killed in a large truck accident in Oklahoma, hiring an attorney can be the most effective way to ensure you get the compensation you need and deserve.  Whether you are a truck driver who was injured on the job, the surviving dependent of a fatally injured driver, or the occupant of a passenger vehicle involved in a collision with a motor carrier, an Oklahoma 18-wheeler accident lawyer can help.  Call  (405) 418-8888 to schedule a free evaluation of your case.