Oklahoma residents should know that an incident has led some trucking industry professionals to re-think certain safety protocols. In April 2019, a long-haul trucker driving on a downhill grade in Lakewood, Colorado, caused a 28-car crash when the brakes on his vehicle failed. It turns out that 30 violations were reported to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration over the course of 19 inspections conducted in the previous two years. Some of those violations were brake related.
In particular, trucking industry experts are wondering if trucker training and vehicle inspections should be handled in a different way. Virtual simulator training, for example, may provide effective training without the risk for injuries or property damage. If this were combined with classroom training and behind-the-wheel training with an experienced driver, it may result in more skilled drivers.
With 70% of the country's freight being carried by truckers, the demand for drivers is high. The industry is in dire need of at least 50,000 full-time drivers. Yet many trucking companies, feeling the pressure, become lax with regard to truck safety regulations and do not provide the best possible training. This may be partially behind the incident in Lakewood. The trucker who caused that incident faces three dozen felony charges and the possibility of prison time.
If a negligent trucker causes a truck accident, the employer could be held liable. Victims, for their part, may want to consult with a lawyer before moving forward with an injury claim. The lawyer might hire a team of investigators to gather proof against the trucker or employer. This may include proof of inadequate training or lax enforcement of inspection guidelines. Medical experts might come in to determine the extent of injuries and all the costs relating to their treatment. Then, victims may have their lawyer negotiate for a settlement.