Trucking accidents are some of the deadliest crashes on Oklahoma’s roadways. Not only can big rigs do catastrophic damage to other vehicles, they can carry hazardous materials that result in fires or dangerous chemical spills. After these devastating accidents, you may wonder who should be held responsible.

Accidents can start with the driver.

Many accidents start in the cabin of the commercial vehicle. Some believe that driver fatigue is the cause of most trucking accidents, and this drowsiness isn’t the only thing that can take drivers’ attention away from the road. Dispatching devices, cell phones, maps and even the scenery can distract drivers, making it difficult for them to keep proper control of the vehicle.

Aggressive driving like following too closely causes about 5% of crashes. Commercial vehicles require almost 200 feet to stop effectively at highway speeds, and improper following distance can make it difficult for vehicles to slow or stop properly.

Drivers aren’t the only cause of accidents, however.

While it can be easy to identify driver errors, many other people and businesses can also contribute to commercial vehicle crashes.

The Large Truck Crash Causation Study collected by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) found that pressure from carriers was an element in 10% of trucking crashes. This pressure—whether it encourages drivers to drive for longer hours or at higher speeds than is safe—is only one way that companies contribute to accidents. Improperly training drivers can leave them unprepared for the task at hand, and failure to maintain trucks or trailers can cause tires to wear out and mechanical parts to fail.

Manufacturers can also contribute to trucking accidents. Defective brakes and steering can make it difficult to control a vehicle properly, trailer hitch design issues can cause trailers to become unbalanced or unattached and engine defects can result in catastrophic failures.

If you or a loved one has been harmed by a trucking accident, working with an attorney could answer your questions and help you choose the right course of action. Legal action help victims get the compensation they need, and holding the people or companies that contributed to an accident responsible could prevent future accidents.