Trucker fatigue in Oklahoma and rising risk of fatal crashes

The abrupt loss of a loved one due to the negligence of another person is devastating in many ways. One man found the strength to move on following a fatal car crash that killed and maimed his immediate family, and he is calling for strict changes to truck driver regulations. As evidence of the need, this victim and others cite the rising number of fatal truck accidents. They also point to increased pressures on truckers and companies as well as failure of statistical data to capture the number of fatigue-related accidents.

In one case of truck driver fatigue, the driver went to prison and the family received a $40.8 million settlement following the death of a woman and serious injuries suffered by her two sons. Other similar cases are occurring at an increasing rate across the United States.

After a steep drop in the rate of fatal truck accidents from 2006 to 2009, the rate has steadily increased and again surpassed the rate of fatal car crashes. Some observers explain the increased pressure in the trucking industry that leads to driver fatigue as a loss of leverage. Among shipping options, trucking companies have the least leverage and the stiffest competition.

Financial pressure is not justification for companies and drivers to ignore the regulations designed to keep all drivers safe. Negligence behind the wheel has led to death and severe injury in many cases. The loss of a loved one can never truly be compensated, but financial compensation may help survivors weather their grief and receive optimum treatment for injuries. Personal injury attorneys could file wrongful death claims so that victims or their survivals can seek funeral and medical fees, lost wages and other damages.

Source: Bloomberg News, "Trucker in Massive Rig Destroys Two Families in His Sleep," David Voreacos and Jeff Plungis, Sept. 29, 2014

Source: Oklahoma State Courts Network, "Section 1053 - Wrongful Death - Limitation of Actions - Damages", October 03, 2014

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