The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has reported that there was an increase each year from 2015 to 2017 in the percentage of fatal crashes that involved one or more large trucks. In particular, the percentage of fatal work zone accidents where at least one large truck was involved has gone up in each of those three years. Commercial truckers in South Carolina should know, however, that they have the ability to fight this upward trend.

The FMCSA has not necessarily put the blame on truckers, but the data suggests that negligence is one of the most prominent factors. Awareness of the dangers of the road is the first important step. For example, National Work Zone Awareness Week is to be held from April 8 to 12, 2019, to educate truckers on the risks in work zones.

Truckers should take advantage of their high visual horizon by alerting drivers to their intentions ahead of time. For example, they can put their flashers on to warn drivers of slowed or stopped traffic ahead or signal a turn as soon as it is apparent they have to merge.

Truckers would also do well to guard against distractions. Even adjusting the seat or radio can be distracting and should be done before driving. If the trucking company allows hands-free calling, the phone should be secure, not sliding around.

There is many an inattentive truck driver out there who puts other drivers at risk. Other truckers may feel urged on by deadlines and by-the-load incentives to speed or drive drowsily. These are all examples of negligent behavior. Victims of negligence are eligible for compensation as long as their degree of fault is less than the other party’s. They may want to consider getting legal counsel for the negotiation phase. As a last resort, victims may proceed to litigation.