In 2018, over 5,000 large trucks and buses were involved in fatal crashes, a one percent increase from the previous year’s numbers.
Unfortunately, the number of injury crashes involving large trucks or buses has risen, too. From 2016 to 2018, injury crashes increased 8 percent.
Common Causes of Trucking Accidents
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) a large truck is “any medium or heavy truck, excluding buses and motorhomes, with a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) greater than 10,000 pounds.”
Large trucks you might see on the road often include tractor-trailers, dump trucks, flatbeds, tankers, or box trucks. Because of their size and weight, large trucks require extra care to drive, including more time to brake or speed up.
If a truck driver or drivers around large trucks are not careful, accidents can easily happen.
Other drivers, objects, or people
The “most harmful event” for 74 percent of the large trucks involved in fatal crashes and for 78 percent of the large trucks involved in injury and towaway crashes was “collision with vehicle in transport.”
The majority of trucking accidents occurred after another vehicle, person, animal, or object was in the truck’s lane, or moved into it.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) may allow tank trailers to install an extra brake-activated flashing lamp in an effort to reduce rear-end collisions with other vehicles.
The FMCSA previously allowed Oklahoma-based company Groendyke Transport to install a similar lap on its trailers, which reduced Groendyke’s rear-end crash rate by more than 30 percent.
Loss of control
Twenty-three percent of large trucks in fatal crashes experienced a loss of control or movement of their own that led to the crash.
Loss of control might be due to a stalled engine, poor road conditions, speeding, or getting a flat tire. Movement refers to actions like crossing an intersection or changing lanes.
A semi-truck that crashed into a northwest Oklahoma City duplex near John Kilpatrick Turnpike and Northwest 36th Street in August is one example of movement and loss of control causing an accident.
The truck “tried to take an exit ramp, went through a field and slammed into three different houses,” according to 9 News.
At six percent, tires were the most commonly cited vehicle-related factor for trucking accidents. That goes for both the large trucks themselves and passenger vehicles involved in fatal crashes with large trucks (three percent).
In 2018, at least one driver-related factor was recorded for 32 percent of large truck drivers in fatal crashes.
The most frequent driver-related factors cited were speeding of any kind, distraction or inattention, and impairment, which can include impairment from fatigue, illness, or alcohol or drug use.
Unfortunately, this type of accident occurred in August in Garvin County, Oklahoma, on County Road 1590 near Pauls Valley.
It’s unclear why, but a truck driver failed to yield at a stop sign running into the path of the train. The truck and train collided, causing 11 of 95 train cars to derail in the crash.
How to Stay Safe as a Driver
Remember that large trucks are heavy and have sizable blind spots. It’s important that other drivers around large trucks do their part and drive safely to avoid a trucking accident.
Check their side mirrors
To avoid driving in a large truck’s blind spots, give them plenty of room in front, behind, or on either side in those lanes. Stay visible by slowing down or moving ahead of the truck.
If you can’t see the driver in their side mirror, assume that they can’t see you, either.
Give them plenty of space
If you do pass a truck, use your turn signal. Pass them quickly, don’t linger in their blind spot. Move over into their lane when they have plenty of space in front of them.
Do not cut off a large truck. If you do, you may be in a blind spot, or you may not give them enough time to stop to avoid a trucking accident. Similarly, don’t tailgate large trucks. In a crash, your vehicle could slide or be pushed under the truck.
Give them room to turn
Large trucks need extra turning room because of their size and weight. Be mindful of trucks as they turn, since they may move into another lane or swing wide. Don’t try to pass between a turning truck and the curb or block them at an intersection.
Large trucks need more time to brake and to accelerate safely. Sometimes they may need to limit their speed; for example, on a road with a steep downgrade, they may use speed limiters to safely navigate the road.
Tailgating, swerving in front of trucks, driving aggressively, or honking can cause dangerous trucking accidents. Be patient and give large trucks space.
What to Do If a Truck Accident Occurs
If you’re involved in a trucking accident, take the following actions to protect yourself.
- Call the police. Report the accident right away. Don’t admit fault or apologize to any other parties involved in the crash.
- Seek medical attention. Even if you’re not obviously injured or feel hurt, get a medical evaluation to be safe.
- Gather evidence. If you’re able, gather information while waiting for an ambulance and/or the police.
Get the names and contact information of other drivers, as well as any witnesses. Take photos of the accident scene, including vehicle damage, road conditions, location, and your injuries.
- Contact a truck accident lawyer. Accidents involving large trucks can be even more complex than accidents involving regular passenger vehicles.
Multiple parties can be at fault depending on the crash, such as a repair shop that did maintenance on the truck, the truck driver’s employer, a truck part manufacturer, and so on.
An experienced trucking accident attorney can help you understand the situation and take appropriate legal action.
Contact a Truck Accident Attorney Today
The truck accident attorneys at Carr & Carr are standing by to help you now. If you or a loved one has been injured in a trucking accident in Oklahoma, we can help you file a claim and fight for the compensation amount that you deserve.
To set up a free consultation with a truck accident lawyer, call Carr & Carr at (866) 510-0580 or fill out an online form. For more news resources and information on our firm, you can also subscribe to our YouTube channel, or like and follow the Carr & Carr Facebook page.