Of all the motor vehicle crashes on the road, trucking wrecks can be the most severe. A small passenger car is no match for an 80,000-pound combination tractor-trailer vehicle in a collision. The injuries can be devastating.
The causes of truck accidents in Oklahoma varies. Some crashes result from negligent inspection, maintenance and loading of the tractor-trailer. Some even result from manufacturing defects and poorly designed and maintained roads. However, as we have seen over the years at Cain Law Office, driver error serves as the leading cause of these crashes.
Our law firm has spent decades carefully honing our skills and narrowing our focus to understand just how and why these deadly truck accidents happen. If you have lost a loved one or suffered injury in a trucking collision in Oklahoma City or the surrounding areas of the state, you need to take action quickly. Contact us today to learn about your rights in a completely free case consultation.
Types of Driver Errors in Oklahoma Truck Accidents
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports that, between 2014 and 2016, large trucks were involved in 10,915 fatal crashes in the U.S., or around 3,638 per year. In Oklahoma, a reported 320 fatal truck accidents occurred during that span, or about 107 each year. At least one “driver-related factor” played a role in roughly one-third of those crashes, the FMCSA indicates. On average, 340 crashes per year involved a moving violation such as speeding.
Some of the leading types of driver errors in tractor-trailer accidents that we see at Cain Law Office are:
- Speeding (or going too fast in road, weather and traffic conditions)
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Following too closely (or “tailgating”)
- Merging or turning improperly (such as without a turn signal)
- Starting or backing up improperly
- Making dangerous or illegal passes
- Allowing the trailer to fishtail or sway
- Failing to put out triangles or flares when stopped on the shoulder.
Many professional truck drivers work hard and put in hundreds of thousands of safe and accident-free miles each year. Some experienced truck drivers can boast of going more than a million miles without a collision. Indeed, these highly skilled professionals are safe and efficient, and they always put safety at the top of their mind when they operate large and dangerous machinery on the highways.
Unfortunately, not all drivers are so professional. Some cut corners and look for ways to cheat the system to make an extra buck. These are the truck drivers that cause serious accidents and injuries. Attorney representation is absolutely a must when it comes to fighting against these drivers and the trucking companies that put them on the road.
Why Truck Driver Errors Occur in Oklahoma
Big truck accidents happen a lot in Oklahoma. Here are just a few of the underlying causes of wrecks that we often encounter when representing Oklahoma truck accident victims and their families at Cain Law Office:
- Driver distraction/inattention – Many drivers text while driving or talk on hand-held cell phones behind the wheel despite FMCSA rules and Oklahoma laws that prohibit such activity. They also get distracted by trying to eat, drink, smoke, groom or read maps while driving.
- Driver fatigue – When a driver falls asleep at the wheel, it can turn deadly in a flash. A sleep-impaired driver can be as dangerous as a drunk driver. Sadly, many drivers violate the FMCSA’s hours-of-service rules or find ways to get around them. Those rules aim to limit drivers’ hours on the road and prevent crashes.
- Alcohol and drug use – Many truck drivers abuse prescription medications to stay awake longer and make more money. This can lead to using other drugs or alcohol to get to sleep. Big rigs, drugs and alcohol simply do not mix. In fact, Oklahoma makes it illegal to drive a commercial truck with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.04 or higher (compared to 0.08 for other drivers).
- Driver carelessness – Sometimes, truckers just drive in an unreasonably careless manner. For instance, they fail to check blind spots, go too fast, follow too closely or fail to use signals when they turn or merge lanes.
- Road rage – No doubt driving a semi-truck is a stressful job. Weeks away from loved ones, long hours, and inconsistent pay can make some drivers lose their cool. But when road rage takes over, some drivers become reckless.
- Driver inexperience – Many trucking companies try to cut corners and put unqualified and inexperienced drivers on the road because they can pay them less. Operating a tractor-trailer safely requires skill and experience.
How We Can Determine If Driver Error Caused an Oklahoma Truck Accident
Cain Law Office is comprised of experienced and dedicated legal professionals. We know how to immediately investigate truck accidents in Oklahoma. We can put our rapid response investigative team on your case right away and preserve, gather and analyze evidence that will allow us to determine if driver error caused a crash that injured you or caused the loss of a loved one.
Some of the evidence which can point to driver error includes:
- Inspection of the crash scene (typically documented through photos)
- Witness statements
- Black box data
- GPS data
- Driver logbooks
- Truck inspection and maintenance records
- Cell phone records
- Alcohol and drug test results.
Attorney Monty L. Cain is a member of the Association of Plaintiff Interstate Trucking Lawyers of America. He understands how driver error factors into crashes. Our firm can also turn to highly knowledgeable professionals in areas such as engineering, accident reconstruction and trucking safety to help us to understand and explain how a driver’s negligence caused a truck crash.
Contact Our Oklahoma Truck Accident Lawyers Today
At Cain Law Office, we know truck accidents. Our attorneys here to help when you need us. With offices in Oklahoma City and Edmond, we make it convenient to speak with a lawyer near you. Truck accidents caused by driver error are serious, and you may be entitled to significant compensation for your injuries. For more information or to schedule a free consultation with an attorney near you, contact Cain Law Office today.