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Truck Accidents and Motor Vehicle Crashes: The Leading Cause of Work-Related Death.

Texas 18-Wheeler Accident Lawyer | Workplace Truck and Motor Vehicle Deaths

Few workers expect to be involved in a truck accident or motor vehicle crash while they’re on the job.

But according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, transportation-related incidents consistently rank as the leading cause of work-related fatalities in the United States. In fact, accidents involving trucks and other motor vehicles were either the first or second leading cause of death in each of the nation’s major industries in 2018.

Motor Vehicle Crashes Killed 29,000+ Workers from 2003-2018

From 2003-2018, more than 29,000 workers in the U.S. died in a work-related motor vehicle crash. In 2018 alone, 1,276 U.S. workers were killed while driving or riding in a motor vehicle on a public road. Those fatalities accounted for 24% of all work-related deaths recorded that year.

An additional 550 fatalities involved workers driving or riding in a motor vehicle off a public road. Pedestrians struck by a vehicle accounted for 11% of all work-related deaths that year.

About 38% of the roadway fatalities reported in 2018 occurred in Transportation and Warehousing, followed by Construction (12%), Wholesale and Retail Trade (9%), and Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing, and Hunting (7%). The largest percentage of roadway fatalities involved semi-trucks, tractor-trailers, and tanker trucks (38%), followed by pickup trucks (17%), delivery trucks/vans (9%), and automobiles (7%).

Oilfield Truck Accident Caused 50% of Oil and Gas Worker Deaths

Oilfield truck accidents and other motor vehicle crashes were responsible for 50% of the fatalities reported in the oil and gas industry in 2018.  While pickup trucks had historically been the industry’s leading cause of transportation-related deaths, large trucks took over the top spot in 2017.

Fatal motor vehicle crashes weren’t just a concern for truckers and other commercial drivers. In fact, 57% of the workers who died in 2018 were not employed as motor vehicle operators.

Of the 325 pedestrian fatalities recorded that year, 46% involved just a few occupations: heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers, construction occupations, and grounds maintenance workers.

Common Causes of Workplace Truck Accidents and Motor Vehicle Crashes

Workplace vehicle accidents generally fall into three categories:

  • Collision with another vehicle.
  • Collision with a pedestrian.
  • Collision with a stationary object on the roadside.

In most cases, these crashes occur due to one or more of the following factors:

  • Driver Fatigue: Drivers in some industries, including transportation and oil and gas, typically work long hours. And while federal Hour of Services rules limit how long an interstate commercial driver can legally remain behind the wheel without taking a break, many drivers skirt these rules in their rush to deliver their loads on time.
  • Distracted Driving:   One study found that over 70% of all large truck crashes occurred while an operator focused on something other than driving. Texting, talking on the phone, and eating while behind the wheel are common driver distractions. However, research suggests many truck and 18-wheeler crashes are triggered by distractions external to the vehicle, such as billboards and advertisements near the roadway.
  • Speeding: Excessive speed is responsible for around 30% of motor vehicle accidents in the United States each year. Heavy trucks are hazardous at high speeds because they can’t stop quickly in an emergency and are challenging to maneuver around turns. A truck hauling a heavy load could also lose its cargo or experience a cargo shift that causes the vehicle to roll over or jackknife.
  • Impairment and Intoxication: According to one recent study, the use of mind-altering substances – including alcohol, marijuana, amphetamines, and cocaine – is high among truck drivers and likely linked to poor working conditions. Impaired driving can cause vertigo, agitation, hallucinations, and change perceptions and reactions in a way that increases the risk for a serious or fatal crash.
  • Improperly Loaded Cargo: If equipment and other cargo aren’t properly loaded, an 18-wheeler or heavy truck could be thrown off balance if it shifts during transport. In such a case, the driver is likely to lose control of their rig and cause a crash.
  • Inadequate Maintenance: According to the 2019 Large Truck Crash Causation Study, 10% of all commercial trucking accidents result from problems with the vehicle itself. Although federal regulations require that commercial vehicles be well maintained and subject to regular inspections, oilfield companies and other trucking-dependent businesses stand to lose money when a vehicle is out of service for maintenance. To protect their bottom line, they’ll do anything to avoid taking a profitable vehicle off the road – even if that means delaying inspections and needed repairs.
  • Lack of Driver Training and Inexperience: Safely operating a tanker truck, tractor-trailer, or another commercial vehicle requires specific training and experience. Unfortunately, because of a severe shortage of commercial drivers, companies involved in transportation, oil and gas extraction, construction, and many other industries are increasingly relying on drivers who lack the training and experience to safely perform their jobs.

Preventing Workplace Truck and Motor Vehicle Accidents

Having represented thousands of accident victims and their families – including those injured and tragically killed in 18-wheeler crashes, oilfield truck accidents, and other commercial vehicle accidents — it’s been our experience that the majority of transportation-related workplace deaths and injuries are entirely preventable and often result from negligence on the part of an employer or tucking company.

To prevent fatal motor vehicle accidents, companies that employ commercial drivers should:

  • Perform a driver’s license background check before a new driver.
  • Ensure all vehicles have seat belts for the driver and every passenger. Require their use.
  • Maintain reasonable schedules that allow drivers to make on-time deliveries without speeding or becoming fatigued.
  • Limit drivers’ hours of service according to federal and state regulations.
  • Train drivers in safe driving practices and the proper use of vehicle safety features.
  • Establish procedures to ensure adequate maintenance of all vehicle systems.
  • Make sure that all vehicles are equipped with appropriate occupant protection and other safety features

Companies that employ workers in construction or maintenance zones should:

  • Require all workers to wear high-visibility clothing.
  • Utilize barriers and traffic control procedures when working on or near public roads.

If your job requires you to operate a truck or other motor vehicle:

  • Use seat belts at all times.
  • Only allow workers to ride with you when the vehicle has a seat belt for each person. Insist that all passengers use their seat belts.
  • Avoid aggressive driving.
  • Don’t text, talk on the phone, eat or engage in any other activities that will take your attention off the road.
  • Always drive within the speed limit.
  • Do not drive if you are fatigued.
  • Don’t drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, including prescription and over-the-counter medications that could make you drowsy or alter your reaction time.

Our Undefeated Truck Accident Lawyers Are Here to Help. Call 1-888-603-3636 or Click Here for a Free Consult.

Our Undefeated Truck and 18-Wheeler Accident Lawyers have won Billions for injured workers and accident victims across Texas, Louisiana, New Mexico, and throughout the United States, including Record-Breaking Verdicts and Settlements against the largest corporations in the world.

If you were hurt or experienced the wrongful death of a loved one due to a workplace truck crash or motor vehicle accident, please call 1-888-603-3636 or Click Here to submit a confidential email through our “Contact Us” form.

Your consultation is completely free, and because we only represent clients for a contingency fee, you won’t pay anything unless we win your case.