FMCSA pushes safety in response to rise in fatal truck crashes

Ohio drivers may want to steer clear of commercial trucks when they see them. Federal statistics show that large truck accidents increased between 2015 and 2017. Further, the number of truck-occupant deaths and fatal work zone crashes involving large trucks also spiked over the same period of time.

To address these sobering statistics, the chief safety officer for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration offered several safety tips at the 2019 Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., which was held in January. These tips included encouraging truck drivers to use turn signals to indicate their intent to merge into an open lane and to turn on their flashers when traffic is slowing down or stopped. Drivers are also urged to eliminate distractions while behind the wheel, including distractions from cell phones, GPS systems and stereo systems. Federal law prohibits commercial truck drivers from holding a cellphone or tablet in their hand while driving.

According to the FMCSA, 30.4 percent of all deadly work zone crashes that occurred in 2017 involved at least one large truck, which is a nearly 27 percent jump from 2015. The agency believes that adopting the safety tips above can significantly reduce fatal work zone collisions and other types of deadly truck accidents.

Commercial truck drivers have a legal responsibility to obey all traffic laws and safely operate their vehicles. When a negligent trucker fails to do this and causes an accident, he or she might could be found liable in court. For example, individuals injured in a truck crash have the right to file a personal injury lawsuit seeking compensation for damages. As a result, a victim may be awarded a financial settlement that covers medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, lost income, property loss and more. An attorney familiar with commercial vehicle accidents could assess a victim's case and help gather evidence supporting a lawsuit.

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