Police in Rowland closed South Paw Paw Road recently after an early morning collision involving a truck and a tractor-trailer, according to Channel 5 News. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol is investigating the cause of that accident as well as an incident in which a cement truck ran off the road in Edmond, Channel 9 News reported. That incident occurred on Highway 74 in Waterloo.
An Oklahoma City truck accident lawyer should always be consulted when a motorist is involved in a collision with a tractor-trailer or other large commercial vehicle.
Tractor-trailer accidents in Oklahoma are a growing concern as the industry continues to struggle with driver shortages and increasing demand. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports the number of fatal trucking accidents increased 4 percent in 2012. And the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which is tasked with improving carrier safety, has come under increasing fire for being ineffective. Nearly 4,000 motorists were killed in accidents involving large commercial trucks in 2012 and more than 100,000 people were injured.
Truck accidents likely to injure occupants of other vehicles
About three-quarters of those injured in truck accidents are motorists in other vehicles or non-occupants, including bicyclists and pedestrians. Tractor-trailer accidents in Oklahoma claimed 124 lives in 2012, making it among the nation’s 10 most dangerous states for these types of collisions.
According to the FMCSA’s Large Truck Causation Study, top causes of trucking accidents include prescription drug use, traveling too fast and drivers who are unfamiliar with the roadway. Other top causes include over-the-counter drug use, fatigue, illegal maneuvers, distraction, and aggressive driving. But, while many developed countries have passed tougher safety measures, and mandated safety technology like data recorders and speed limiters, the FMCSA has made little progress since being formed in 2000.
Organizations like RoadSafe America argue truckers should not be permitted to drive while on pain medication and other narcotics that would be forbidden to an airline pilot. The FMCSA proposed requiring speed-limiters in 2011, although no measure has yet been passed into law. In January, the agency proposed requiring data recorders to track hours-of-service compliance. Hours-of-service rules limit commercial drive time in an effort to protect motorists from fatigued drivers and are in use in Canada, Europe and elsewhere. Safety organizations continue to push the agency to pass the measures in tandem to reduce the risk of fraud and fatigued truckers.
“RoadSafe America knows that if trucks are slowed via the use of speed limiters, some drivers will be tempted to cheat on their drive time to make up miles. Similarly, if their hours of driving are monitored electronically, but the speed is not limited, the unsafe driver will be tempted to drive too fast,” the organization said in a statement of support.
Determining the cause of a tractor-trailer accident is a complex process. Truck drivers and trucking companies are subject to a host of state and federal regulations dealing with issues ranging from cell-phone use to drug testing. In many cases, multiple victims and serious injuries require experienced and aggressive representation to hold responsible out-of-state drivers, motor carriers, and insurance companies.