At the 2019 Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting, an officer from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration discussed some very disappointing news about the rate of fatal accidents involving trucks on roads in Kentucky and throughout the nation. From the years 2015 to 2017, large-truck-occupant deaths increased as did the percentage of all fatal crashes involving at least one large truck. While many factors contribute to this problem, lowering the rates of fatalities may ultimately be in the truck driver’s hand.

One simple way drivers can increase their chance of survival in an accident is to wear a seat belt. More than 300 drivers would have likely survived their accidents in 2017 if they had worn their seat belts. In work zones, it’s key for truck drivers to signal people in other vehicles and on the ground about their intentions. Drivers should use their hands to show where they are merging and if traffic ahead is slow or stopped.

Distracted driving is one of the biggest causes of all types of traffic accidents. Cell phones are largely to blame for this, but the use of other devices, including radios and tablets, also contribute to the problem. Drivers should put their devices away before getting on the road, and they should only use hands-free phones.

Victims of truck crashes may be eligible for compensation for their medical bills, property damage, lost wages and other types of pain and suffering. The first step is to seek support and guidance from an attorney familiar with personal injury law. Legal counsel could help a client examine the circumstances of an accident and determine if pursuing legal action is the right option. In some cases, insurance will cover compensation, but filing a lawsuit may be necessary.