Accidents involving large commercial vehicles claim too many lives each year in Pike County and throughout Kentucky.

According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were 17 recorded fatalities in large truck accidents in Pike County from 2009 through 2013. That number is far greater than in any of the area's neighboring counties. In Knott County, five deaths occurred. In Letcher and Floyd Counties, three deaths each occurred. In Martin County, one death occurred.

Around the state, the problem of fatal truck crashes can be seen consistently each year. In 2013, there were 78 deaths in large truck accidents. In 2012 and 2011, 82 and 88 fatalities occurred, respectively. In 2010, 100 people lost their lives in such collisions and another 112 perished in 2009.

Many factors involved in truck crashes

The problems associated with commercial vehicle accidents can include a variety of causes. Impairment and fatigue are commonly known to be involved in these incidents. In one of the worst accidents the region has seen, both factors may have been at play.

According to the, the accident happened in June 2015 along a stretch of Interstate 75. Construction had caused some vehicles to be stopped but a tractor trailer that approached the stopped vehicles hit them from the rear when the driver failed to stop his truck in time. A total of nine vehicles were hit. Six people were injured and another six were killed. The deceased included two children.

The driver was arrested in Lexington in August and now faces multiple criminal charges including six counts of vehicular homicide, speeding and driving under the influence of narcotics. Reports indicate that the man had been driving for 15 straight hours and had driven a total of 50 hours over three days at the time of the wreck.

Can such tragedies be prevented?

Reducing trucker fatigue was the goal of a new Hours of Service rule that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration enacted in early 2013. It changed the guidelines for driver rest breaks. However, Supply Chain Digest indicates that many within the trucking industry were not pleased with the changes and fought against them. Congress issued a stay on the rule and ordered further research into the matter. The FMCSA is in the process of putting its new report together now notes

Driver impairment is the focus of another effort by the FMCSA. According to the Commercial Carrier Journal, a more stringent process will be put into place surrounding the pre-hire screening of drivers. Substance testing and driver reviews will all be a part of this new process.

What should be done after an accident?

Tending to the medical needs of any victims is always the first priority after an accident. Once that is done sufficiently, injured parties and family members should reach out to an experienced attorney for help seeking compensation.