When a passenger vehicle collides with a semi-truck, the consequences can be fatal. Although accidents happen, in many situations the causes of these accidents could have been avoided. Not only does the size of commercial trucks makes them a serious threat to other vehicles on the road, but many truck accidents are the result of a negligent truck driver who fails to use proper precautions when getting behind the wheel of a semi-truck. Here are 5 common negligent actions that may be the cause of a fatal collision.
A fully loaded tractor-trailer rig can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. However, truck drivers are often paid by the pound to transport a load, which frequently results in trucks being loaded to the maximum weight and beyond. Overweight loads require longer stopping time and can cause the truck to jackknife. Additionally, unless the proper care is taken to ensure the load is properly loaded, loads like liquids or frozen foods may shift during transport, which make the truck and trailer more susceptible to rolling over.
There are several ways that improper maintenance can affect the safety of a semi-truck, including:
- Poorly maintained brakes will make a semi-truck slower to stop or may fail to stop the truck. Improperly maintained brakes often cause semi-trucks to veer to the side when brakes are applied.
- Trailers and/or containers that are not properly secured can detach while being transported.
- Electrical systems can fail, causing the semi-truck to stop without warning in front of a passenger vehicle.
One of the most common causes of fatal accidents on the roadways is due to driver distractions. There are a number of reasons why a truck driver may get distracted while driving, but one of the most common reasons for accidents or near-miss accidents is texting while driving. When representing clients who were injured in an accident involving semi-trucks, personal injury attorneys frequently request the cell phone records to determine if the driver was using their cell phone and/or texting at the time of the accident.
Commercial truck drivers are often under a significant amount of pressure to meet deadlines. Most truck drivers are paid by the mile or the load, so when they are waiting to be loaded, stuck in traffic or held up a weigh station, these delays can have a significant impact on their earnings. As a result, some drivers will travel further and drive longer than allowed in order to get their miles or deliver an extra load or two. Because driver fatigue is such a dangerous problem, Federal and State governments have specific regulations that limit the amount of hours truck drivers can be on the road.
Not Following The Rules Of The Road
When the rules of the road are not followed, accidents can occur, regardless of the type of vehicle being driven. However, the risks are significantly increased when a commercial truck fails to follow the rules of the road. For example, if a semi-truck is speeding, they are typically unable to brake as quickly as normal and when a collision happens with a semi-truck at a high rate of speed, there is a greater chance of injuries being severe and/or fatal.
There is a wide range of factors that may cause a truck accident. The important thing to know is that you are involved in an accident with a semi-truck, it is critical that the accident be investigated as soon as possible. Personal injury attorneys like Whiting, Hagg, Hagg, Dorsey & Hagg can investigate the accident, help you gather the necessary evidence and determine if you are eligible to file a claim for compensation of your injuries.