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Preventing distracted driving and truck crashes in work zones

From 2016 to 2017, there was a considerable rise in the number of deadly large truck and bus accidents in California and the rest of the US, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The FMCSA found that the percentage of large truck occupant deaths rose each year from 2015 to 2017, the latest year for which there is complete data.

In particular, there have been more and more fatal large truck crashes in work zones. Since these areas pose such a challenge, there is an annual National Work Zone Awareness Week. This event takes place in 2019 between April 8 and 12. As the name implies, awareness is essential.

To stem the tide of these crashes, truckers can do a few things. First, they can take advantage of the higher visual horizon their vehicle gives them and alert drivers via their flashers when they are approaching slowed or stopped traffic. Truckers should also signal their turns ahead of time when merging.

Many fatal crashes are caused by distractions. Besides phone use, adjusting the radio or the seat can take one's attention from the road. Truckers are advised to make adjustments before leaving. If their company allows hands-free phone use, the phone should be in a place where it cannot slip or fall.

Truck accidents frequently end in catastrophic injuries if not death. Those who survive may be left with medical bills, conditions requiring life-long treatment and a damaged or perhaps totaled car. Under personal injury law, they are eligible for compensation provided that their degree of negligence, if any, does not surpass that of the trucker. This is where a lawyer might come in handy. Trucking companies can be aggressive in denying payment, but an attorney may negotiate with them for a fair settlement.

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