Robenalt Law Seeks Justice for Families Who Have Been Harmed by Trucking Accidents
Despite advancements in trucking safety and a decline in fatal trucking accidents nationwide, fatal trucking accidents in Ohio have increased for the fifth year in a row. Unfortunately, while truck companies and drivers are required to follow the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Regulations, the industry is not policed as well as other industries, such as the airline industry.
As the economy has improved since 2008, more trucks are on the roads. This is good news for Ohio businesses and job growth, but it has led to an increase in truck crashes and fatal trucking accidents in Ohio each of the last 5 years.
If a crash occurs and a fatality or other serious injury results, immediately retain a lawyer who is ready to secure a crash investigation expert and obtain the documents required for a thorough and immediate investigation of the crash and its cause. Prompt accident investigations are crucial to the success of any lawsuit and often start with have an expert download the "black box" data, video and other electronic information that is often available on the trucks and vehicles involved.
Trucking Accident Fatalities Decline Nationwide
Nationwide, the number of fatal trucking accidents across the country has been decreasing over the last two decades.
Since 2007, the number of fatal truck crashes has stayed below 4,000 across the country.
Industry experts attribute the decline in fatal trucking accidents to increases in truck safety, better driver training, and better enforcement of existing trucking regulations.
Nonetheless, fatal trucking accidents in Ohio have increased, in part because Ohio is the crossroads of America, especially at the intersection of I-70 and I-75 in central Ohio.
Fatal Trucking Accidents Increase in Ohio
Trucking accidents in Ohio increased 13% between 2012 and 2015, from 19,758 to 22,490.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol reports that fatal trucking crashes increased to 1,094 in 2017, which represents the fifth straight year that fatal truck accidents have increased. This includes 116 fatalities that involved heavy-trucks. This represents more than 10% of the total of fatal trucking accidents and does not include truck accidents that cause severe injuries.
Unsurprisingly, fatal trucking accidents occur in more densely populated areas.
Between 2012 and 2016, 16% of Ohio truck crashes occurred in Cuyahoga County, 19% occurred in Franklin County, and 15% occurred in Hamilton County. Uncoincidentally, these are Ohio’s three most populous counties.
Causes of Fatal Trucking Accidents
Collisions between trucks and cars, bicycles, or pedestrians often result in catastrophic injuries. Surprisingly, one common cause of fatal trucking accidents is unsafe vehicles. One quarter of trucks on the road today are stopped for inspection violations, which means that the vehicle has such severe violations that it is illegal for them to be on the road. Violations might include brakes that are not working properly or lights that are out.
In addition to unsafe vehicles, truckers are being asked to drive more miles every year. In 2014, truck drivers drove more than 279 billion miles. According to the American Trucking Association, this is more than double the number of miles driven 25 years ago. More miles on the road means drivers are more likely to be fatigued, which increases the likelihood of being involved in a crash. Drivers are required to comply with the Hours of Service Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR) that limit the number of hours that a driver can drive in any given day and companies are required to audit the driver's daily logs to ensure compliance with these crucial regulations; however, short cuts are taken every day in this country.
If fact, Robenalt Law's investigation of drivers' logs and companies compliance with the Federal Safety Regulations issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has revealed that some companies and owner operators go to great lengths to comply with the hours of service regulations, including the falsification of driver's logs and compliance forms. Drivers are required to maintain and provide trip receipts which help investigating lawyers determine compliance with the hours of service regulations.
Large trucks account for 4% of vehicles on U.S. roadways, and 7% of the miles driven, yet they account for 11% of fatal accidents.
Most fatal trucking accidents occur between 6 am and 6 pm Monday through Friday, and occur near heavily populated areas.
Many of these truck accidents are preventable, caused by driver fatigue, distracted driving, high driver turnover, inadequate maintenance, negligent driving behavior, speeding, overloading, driving while under the influence of controlled substances, and unsafe trucks.
Another common yet often overlooked cause of trucking accidents is driver inexperience and lack of training. Due to business demands and high employee turnover, trucking companies put inexperienced drivers on the road without adequate training. In some cases, employee turnover is as high as 90%.
Both new and seasoned drivers log long hours on the road, which leads to dangerous conditions like driver fatigue, distracted driving and failures to perform the adequate inspection of the trucks before each trip.
Drivers are also under pressure to deliver on-time, which prompts some drivers to cut corners.
Robenalt Law Seeks Justice for People Involved in Fatal Trucking Accidents
If you were injured or someone you love was killed in a trucking accident, you need a skilled and experienced truck accident attorney on your side to fight for the compensation you and your family need.
At Robenalt Law we thoroughly investigate truck accidents, fighting to uncover the cause of the accident and bring the people and companies responsible to justice.
Tom Robenaltstarted his litigation career representing trucking companies at a large firm in Cleveland. For the past 20 years, he has used that experience to help victims and the families of those injured to secure compensation for trucking accidents.
Thomas D. Robenalt
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