Analyzing the years 2015 to 2017, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration found that each of those years saw an increase in the percentage of fatal crashes that involved large trucks. Each of the three years also saw a rise in large truck occupant fatalities and in the percentage of fatal work zone crashes that involve large trucks. Trucker negligence may play a significant role in this trend both in Pennsylvania and in other states.
Turning around this upward trend lies in truckers’ hands. Awareness of dangers is the first step. Truckers may have heard about National Work Zone Awareness Week, which is to be held from April 8 to 12, 2019. Another thing is for truckers to let the drivers behind them know ahead of time when they will merge into the open lane, by signaling the turn early on, and when they are approaching slowed or stopped traffic, by putting on the flashers.
It is even more important for truckers to avoid distracted driving. The FMCSA ranks phones and other distractions among the top five driver-related factors for large trucks in fatal accidents. Truckers should adjust their seat and mirrors before driving because reaching out to adjust these can be distracting. Federal law bans handheld phone use for calling among commercial drivers, but some companies allow hands-free calling.
There are many ways that truckers can become negligent. They may violate federal guidelines on hours of service, for example, and push themselves to the point of driving drowsy. If negligence is behind an accident, those who are injured but who are deemed less negligent than the other side may file a personal injury claim. Trucking companies usually have a legal team ready to fight any claims, so victims may want to hire a lawyer themselves.