The large 18-wheel trucks seen on Oklahoma roads help the economy run, benefiting commerce, consumers and employers alike. Their importance cannot be overlooked, nor can the size of these several-ton vehicles. Even so, collisions involving large trucks are not uncommon nationwide or in the state.
A crash involving a large truck can lead to catastrophic and fatal injuries, usually, to the drivers and passengers of the smaller vehicles struck by these roadway giants. The causes of such crashes vary, and there are many.
Speeding, alcohol, faulty equipment
Of the more than 5,000 people who died in 2019 in large truck crashes in the U.S., 101 of the victims were killed on Oklahoma roads, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The Sooner State is one of 19 states to record more than 100 fatalities related to such collisions.
There are a number of reasons that large truck accidents occur. Some of those reasons include:
- Speeding: This is one of the most common reasons for road accidents. Truckers, sometimes, are in a hurry to meet their tight deadlines. The result is that they ignore speed limits in a move that endangers other motorists.
- Reckless driving: Occasionally, truck drivers believe they are the only ones on the road, driving in whatever manner they want. Improper passing, ignoring traffic signals and excessive lane changes are among the dangerous road behaviors.
- Distracted driving: Sadly, an increasing number of motorists subscribe to this. Talking, texting and checking social media sites while behind the wheel has become more prevalent. This, though, represents dangerous behavior.
- Drowsy driving: Fatigue is not uncommon for truck drivers who work long hours as they face pressure from their employers to make their next destination on time.
- Reliance on alcohol and drugs: Truck drivers’ use of illicit drugs and alcohol continue to be an anathema, often representing a crash waiting to happen. The NHTSA reported that 2% of the large truck drivers involved in fatal crashes were legally drunk.
- Equipment failure: Defective parts and a poorly maintained truck may lead to serious road accidents. Problems sometimes occur in the brakes and steering of large trucks.
- Unbalanced, shifting loads: An improperly loaded trailer may cause the cargo to move and shift, causing the truck to overturn.
Safety campaigns continue to make all drivers aware of these road dangers; all of which are preventable. Remain alert when sharing the road with large trucks, especially if they are driven by irresponsible and careless people.