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Reckless Truck Drivers Wreak Havoc on Oklahoma Roads

The number of people killed in large truck accidents has increased and may be related to distracted and drowsy truckers.

Commercial tractor trailers are common along Oklahoma roadways. Most motorists in the state are accustomed to driving next to these massive vehicles, which in some cases can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Yet many people are completely oblivious to the dangers big rigs present, especially when they are operated by distracted, drunk, drowsy or otherwise negligent truck drivers.

In 2014, a tractor trailer traveling through Oklahoma crossed the median into oncoming traffic and collided with a bus carrying a Texas high school softball team. KFOR News reported that the tragic accident killed four young girls and injured several others. The truck driver was alleged distracted by something, causing him to veer off course. Some of the surviving victims of the accident have filed a third-party lawsuit against the trucking company responsible for hiring and training the negligent trucker.

Fatality facts

Unfortunately, stories like this have become common in the media. In fact, the number of people killed in large truck accidents in Oklahoma and across the country rose significantly from 2009 to 2012, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In Oklahoma alone, 124 people lost their lives in large truck accidents in 2012, a substantial increase from the 78 people who were killed in similar accidents in 2009. Across the country, 3,802 people were killed in 2012, making up 8.3 percent of car accidents in the U.S.

Distracted and drowsy truck drivers

Truck driver distraction and fatigue are two major causes of this fatality rate increase. As truckers spend hours behind the wheel, they are more likely to become distracted by a number of things, including eating, drinking, programming navigational devices, texting and talking on cellular devices.

In an attempt to reduce the number of drowsy truck drivers on the road, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration revised the Hours of Service regulations. These rules restrict the amount of time truckers can spend behind the wheel, and include the following:

  • Truckers cannot drive for more than 11 hours a day.
  • Truckers are limited to a 70-hour work week.
  • Truckers must take a half hour break within the first eight hours of each shift.
  • After working a full 70-hour week, truck drivers must rest for 34 consecutive hours before beginning a new work week.

Despite the regulation revisions, some trucking companies have been accused of scheduling truck operators in violation of federal regulations in order to move more freight and meet stringent deadlines. Not only does this increase the likelihood of truck driver fatigue and truck accidents, but it puts all other motorists on the road in danger.

Ask a Tulsa Personal Injury Lawyer

Large truck accidents can cause serious physical and emotional damage to innocent people. If you suffer from catastrophic injuries, emotional trauma or have lost a loved one due to a truck driver’s negligence, you may be eligible for compensation. A personal injury attorney in Oklahoma may be able to provide essential legal counsel to victims of tractor trailer accidents.

Contact our Law Firm.  Our office is located in Tulsa, Oklahoma, but we serve clients in Broken Arrow, Jenks, Owasso, Collinsville and Sand Springs.