Truck-related fatalities are on the rise in West Virginia and other states. At a Transportation Research Board meeting in early 2019, the chief safety officer from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration presented the following statistics: Large-truck-occupant fatalities have increased each of the last three years, fatal work zone crashes involving large trucks are on the rise, and the number of large truck or bus collisions has increased.
The FMSCA didn’t specifically point the finger at drivers of large trucks. However, data suggests that truckers may be able to literally use their hands to reduce truck accidents. Nearly 40 percent of truck occupant victims weren’t wearing seat belts in 2017, so one thing drivers can do is use their hands to buckle up. Work zone crashes may also be reduced if truckers use their hands to click the turn signal early when merging into open lanes and turn their flashers on when traffic is stopped or slowed.
Truck drivers may be able to further reduce accidents by avoiding distracted driving, which the FMCSA ranks as one of the top factors related to fatal large truck crashes. For instance, truckers can manually adjust seat belts, mirrors, radio volume and anything else they may be tempted to fiddle with while behind the wheel before they start driving to minimize distractions. Drivers can further reduce distractions by either putting their devices away entirely or placing them where they can’t fall or slip if hands-free use is permitted.
When truck accidents occur, it’s often pedestrians or drivers of smaller vehicles who sustain injuries or perish. In situations like this, an attorney typically reviews accident details to determine if negligence may have been involved. Possible sources of distraction are sometimes identified by looking at data from devices to correlate usage with the time the accident occurred.