Commercial trucks play an important role in the U.S. economy. They carry goods across our country’s highways 24 hours a day. The adage of the trucking industry is, “if you bought it, a truck brought it.”
As much as these vehicles are an essential tool for meeting our needs, they all too often pose a danger to motorists. The average tractor-trailer (18-wheeler) can weigh up to 80,000 pounds while the average passenger vehicle weighs up to only about 5,000 pounds. So, it is easy to see how serious injuries and death can result from a trucking accident, especially to occupants of the passenger vehicle.
Understanding the common causes of trucking accidents can help you be more aware as you share the road with the big trucks.
Extreme wind, fog, rain, ice, and snow can make it difficult for truck drivers to drive safely. Poor visibility or traction can cause drivers to lose control. They may not be able to avoid skidding, hydroplaning, or jackknifing. Any of these could cause multi-car pileups and severely injure motorists.
Bad Road Conditions
Roads and highways with narrow lanes, no shoulders, lots of potholes, or rough pavement can make truck driving hazardous. A truck driver may not be able to maintain control of the truck when driving on poorly maintained roads.
Driving Errors by Truck Drivers
Most truck drivers know the risks large trucks present on the highway and take precautions to drive safely. But, there are truck drivers who are inadequately or improperly trained and lack the skills needed to drive safely. Also, due to stringent company policies, some truck drivers may drive too long without resting causing them to be less alert while driving. Trying to meet company demands may also cause some truck drivers to speed and not follow other road safety guidelines. Driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs has also been known to be a cause of truck driver error.
Problems With the Truck
When a truck is not functioning properly, it does not matter how well the driver operates it, the vehicle will be hard to control. A manufacturer defect or poor maintenance of the vehicle can cause equipment failure. Overloading of a truck’s cargo can also cause the truck to have a tire blowout, tip over, jackknife, or lose its cargo onto the road.
Passenger Driver Negligence
The actions of passenger drivers are just as culpable in causing trucking accidents. Truck drivers have a hard time avoiding a collision when passenger vehicle drivers use unsafe and careless driving practices such as:
- Driving while distracted due to texting, talking on the phone, eating, etc.
- Making frequent lane changes or passing unsafely
- Failing to properly use turn signals
- Failing to check for blind spots before turning or changing lanes
- Driving fatigued
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
Getting Help If You Have Been in a Trucking Accident
Have you been injured in a trucking accident? You need the help of an experienced attorney.
Cases involving truck accidents require an extensive knowledge of federal and state laws that regulate the trucking industry. The trucking company will have corporate and insurance attorneys helping them. They will do everything they can to discredit your claim or make a minimum payout.
You need an experienced truck accident attorney who can help:
- Investigate the accident scene. This may include taking scene photos, interviewing witnesses, hiring accident reconstruction experts, etc.;
- Gather evidence from the trucking company including black box data, driver’s logs, driver files, etc.;
- Collect your medical records, hire medical experts;
- Handle the necessary paperwork with the insurance company;
- Protect your rights in court and work to ensure you get the maximum compensation possible.
Brock and Stout’s personal injury attorneys have over 27 years of experience helping victims of truck accidents get the compensation they deserve. Contact us for a free evaluation and let us see if we can help you.