Noble McIntyre on January 13, 2015
We’ve talked a lot about the dangers associated with all kinds of traffic accidents—everything from Driving Under the Influence (DUI), distracted driving, teens driving and winter driving to trucking.
There are lots of Oklahoma truckers on the roads, thanks in part to the oil field industry. Although there are plenty of oil field injuries that can happen on the job, one of the biggest accident threats is truck driving.
Of course, you don’t have to be a trucker to be injured in an Oklahoma trucking accident. In one especially tragic story, a man lost his wife, mother-in-law and two young sons, ages three years old and 15 months. The family was traveling on Interstate 80 in Ohio when a three-axle Intercontinental 9400 semitrailer hit their minivan at high speed and crushed it. It slammed into a flat-bed truck up ahead and created a huge fire. The two women and two toddlers were killed instantly, along with the driver of the truck. Sadly, this story is not unusual. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has said that this type of accident happens an average of 11 times per day on U.S. highways, and over 100,000 people are injured in truck crashes every year. Worse, because the industries that involve heavy shipping are growing so rapidly, these numbers are steadily increasing.
There are a lot of causes for trucking accidents and injuries. One is that the continually strengthening economy means that there’s a lot of pressure on companies, including those in the oil and energy industry, to have goods delivered quickly. That means that drivers are driving long hours and are tired, the companies might not screen the drivers as well as they should, and the government has been slow to regulate new safety technology. Of course, it’s not all the companies’ and the truck drivers’ faults—drivers of passenger vehicles can be to blame, too. Often, we see an 18-wheeler or other large vehicle and assume that it’s slow-moving, so we will attempt to change lanes or get out of the way… and sometimes we’re not making those moves safely.
Truck-related fatalities equal thousands of deaths each year, but because we hear about them one at a time and they are scattered all over the country, we don’t realize the enormity of the problem. In one highly publicized case, a vehicle carrying actor Tracy Morgan and a friend was hit from behind by a Wal-Mart truck on a New Jersey highway. Morgan was severely injured and his friend was killed. It shouldn’t take a major accident involving a celebrity for us to wake up to the very real problem of truck accidents on our nation’s highways.
Trucking accidents are everyone’s problem. As a driver or passenger, you are at risk every time you get on the road. Here are some common causes of accidents between trucks and passenger vehicles:
Although most drivers are well-screened and well-trained drivers, everyone makes mistakes and truckers are no different. Sometimes, drivers are not trained properly with respect to driving technique or safety precautions. As well, the expectations of the trucking companies can be unrealistic, which means that drivers feel pressured to hurry even if it means driving less safely. Finally, trucking companies often compensate drivers better for faster vehicle speeds and more hours of consecutive driving than are safe.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, call the experienced Oklahoma trucking accident lawyers today. We’ll help you get the compensation you deserve. Be safe out there!