Roadside Inspections Flagged Many Safety Violations by Truck Drivers and Tractor Trailers in 2014

by | May 28, 2015 | Truck Accident

Many Oklahoma motorists feel a sense of discomfort when driving near large 18-wheeler trucks, which is certainly understandable. Tractor trailer trucks are much larger and heavier than passenger vehicles so any collision involving a big truck can cause serious or fatal injuries to the occupants of the smaller vehicle. On May 18, for example, a couple from Shady Point, Oklahoma were killed in a three-vehicle accident when the Dodge pickup truck in which they were travelling was struck from behind by a Chevy Impala and pushed across the centerline of Oklahoma Highway 271 near Wister into oncoming traffic. A semi-truck hit the pickup truck, crushing the vehicle and pinning the couple inside. The Oklahoma Highway patrol is continuing to investigate the cause of the accident. According to federal accident data, 112 people died in collisions involving large trucks in Oklahoma in 2013, the most recent year of complete data. Most of the victims were occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles. Oklahoma County had more than 1,100 large truck crashes including 30 accidents that caused incapacitating injuries and eight that caused fatal injuries. Because of the risk posed by large trucks, Oklahoma and other states have safety inspectors who conduct roadside checks to try to keep unsafe commercial truck drivers and dangerous trucks off the highways. Serious violations identified during a roadside inspection can lead to a truck or driver immediately being taken off the road. According to a recent report by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the most frequent driver violations identified during roadside inspections in 2014 were:
  • drivers exceeding the allowed amount of time that they can be behind the wheel, known as the hours of service limits;
  • drivers failing to keep the previous seven days logbooks;
  • false report of driver’s duty status; and
  • operating a commercial vehicle without a commercial driver’s license.
Nearly 200,000 commercial truck drivers were cited for violations serious enough to take them off the road for a period of time. After an accident involving a truck, a skilled truck accident lawyer will obtain logbooks and driving records for review. The lawyer may determine whether a truck driver’s disregard for safety or fatigue caused by violation of hours of service limits contributed to a serious accident. It’s also interesting to consider the most common vehicle violations identified during roadside inspections. Truck inspectors across the U.S. issued 3.9 million citations for safety violations including 657,000 violations that led to the truck being taken out of service for repairs. Inspectors issued more than 198,000 violations for tractor trailer brakes out of adjustment and another 64,000 citations for truck brakes that were inoperative or defective.  They issued more than 560,000 violations for trucks that did not have the required operable lights. As you can tell from the statistics cited, there are many unsafe tractor trailers and semis on the highways, as well as many truck drivers who are dangerously fatigued because they have spent too many hours behind the wheel without a break. Fatigued drivers and truck malfunctions caused by lack of maintenance or defective parts can lead to serious accidents. Because of the serious harm an out-of-control tractor trailer can cause, trucking companies and commercial truck drivers are required to carry much larger amounts of insurance than passengers in the event of an accident. Trucking companies and truck drivers should be held accountable when their disregard for vehicle maintenance causes serious accidents. If you or someone you care about has been seriously injured in an accident involving a large truck, let experienced Oklahoma truck accident lawyers review the specifics of your accident free of charge and explain your legal rights.