More than 3 in every 4 motor vehicle operators who were killed on the job in 2017 were commercial truck drivers. This is according to the latest findings from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), which has also reported that, in 2017:
• 840 truckers suffered fatal occupational injuries
• The number of on-the-job trucker deaths was the highest it’s been since 2003, the year associated with the highest number of trucker fatalities (since this data has been tracked and recorded).
While commercial truck driving is an inherently dangerous job – with some experts ranking it as the 8th most dangerous job, the recent spike in trucker deaths is as tragic as it is alarming. This is particularly true in light of the fact that modern safety features and evolving regulations should be reducing trucker deaths and enhancing roadway safety.
Top 5 Causes of On-the-Job Trucker Deaths
Any number of factors can contribute to the accidents that cause truck drivers to suffer job-related fatalities. Most commonly, these factors include:
1. Other motorists – Other drivers’ failures to abide by traffic laws, carefully operate their vehicles, and/or pay attention to the roads often play a role in causing the wrecks that lead to trucker deaths. This negligence can involve anything from impaired driving to speeding, failing to comply with traffic lights, and other reckless actions on the road.
2. Faulty automotive equipment – Sometimes, drivers who share the road with truckers may not be able to safely control their vehicles due to defective, dangerous, and/or malfunctioning equipment. For instance, anything from brake failures to tire blowouts and ignition system failures can cause crashes can fatally injure truckers (and any other involved parties).
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3. Faulty trucking equipment – Equipment failures can also impact commercial trucks, especially if these truckers are not regularly inspected and maintained. Sometimes, this factor is caused by a manufacturer’s negligence in the form of failing to safety test equipment or using subpar materials to make equipment. Other times, it can arise from trucking companies’ failures to maintain trucks.
4. Failures to comply with traffic laws or trucking regulations – In some situations, the actions of truckers themselves can contribute to deadly wrecks. For example, truckers who lack the proper training or who are trying to meet tight delivery deadlines may violate traffic laws, like by speeding. They may instead or also violate federal trucking regulations, like by failing to take break periods and violating hours-of-service (HOS) regulations.
5. Motor carrier negligence – The trucking companies that employ truckers may also contribute to on-the-job deaths via unsafe policies, failures to train truckers, and/or failures to comply with federal trucking regulations. For example, a motor carrier that incentivizes truckers to violate HOS rules can be liable for the accidents, injuries, and deaths caused by fatigued trucker wrecks. Similarly, motor carriers’ failures to properly train truckers and/or failures to keep trucks in good working order can also play a role in causing on-the-job trucker deaths.
After a Truck Driver Workplace Death: What Are the Legal Options for Recovery?
When truckers suffer fatal workplace injuries, their surviving loved ones may have different legal options for seeking justice and financial recovery. Of course, money will never bring back a loved one. It can, however, give loved ones the financial support they need as they pick up the pieces and focus on healing.
Generally, the options for recovery in the aftermath of an on-the-job trucker death can include:
• A wrongful death claim against a negligent third party – If a party other than (or in addition to) the trucking company was negligent and at least partially caused the trucker’s death, that third party can be held liable. For example, another driver and/or an equipment manufacturer can be sued for wrongful death if their negligence was a factor in the accident that killed the truck driver.
• Workers’ compensation death benefits – This type of claim would be filed by a surviving spouse through the motor carrier’s workers’ compensation insurance provider.
If you have lost a loved one to a fatal trucking accident, don’t hesitate to contact the Amaro Law Firm for clear answers about your rights and options – and for exceptional advocacy in the pursuit of justice and financial recovery.
While we know that money won’t make up for the loss of a loved one, we also know that compensation from these cases can be pivotal to picking up the pieces and focusing on healing.
Get the Justice & Recovery You May Deserve: Contact a Truck Accident Attorney at the Amaro Law Firm
An experienced truck accident attorney at the Amaro Law Firm is ready to help you protect your rights. We represent commercial truck drivers from across the U.S. in all types of truck accident claims.
Call (877) 892-2797 or email our firm for your FREE, confidential, no obligations consultation.
During your case evaluation, we will review your situation, answer your questions, and explain your legal options. Free virtual and mobile consultations are available to anyone who cannot visit our offices.
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