Causes of Truck Accidents
Large trucks are more likely than passenger vehicles to be involved in fatal multiple-vehicle crashes. In 2012, there were 3,921 people killed and 104,000 people injured in crashes involving large trucks. Here are why trucks cause so many crashes:
Tractor-trailers are the heaviest vehicles on the road, and consequently, they have the most trouble stopping. At 65 mph, a car will take about 160 feet to come to a stop, but a large truck will need about 420 feet to stop. Even when a truck driver realizes that he needs to stop, sometimes he simply is not able to because he is traveling too fast and his truck weighs too much.
Truck drivers are on the road for longer periods of time than average drivers, and there is a greater temptation and likelihood that truck drivers will get distracted. Texting, reading, talking on the phone, or doing other things that take a driver’s focus off of the road are all too common for long-haul truckers.
A truck driver’s job is to drive the truck safely to its destination. But, unlike others who can choose to work overtime or pull all-nighters to get the job done, truck drivers must follow certain rules about when they are allowed drive. Click here to learn more about truck driver fatigue.
In 2013, speeding was a factor in 29 percent of motor vehicle crash deaths. Speeding has been a factor in about 30 percent of crash deaths since 2004. Large trucks—even more than passenger cars—should not speed because of an inability to stop quickly and the danger of rolling over or jackknifing. Your lawyer should ensure the truck’s “black box” or data recorder, which records speed, is saved so it can be downloaded and analyzed. Often times, the “black box” is crucial to learning whether the truck driver was speeding.
According to researchers 12.5% of truck drivers abuse alcohol, and 8% of truckers use amphetamines. Some legal experts think there are 200,000 commercial drivers on the road with substance abuse problems, because companies hire drivers without properly testing them and truckers can cheat on drug tests. Even worse, after accidents where it seems the driver may have been impaired, truck drivers are known to miraculously disappear so they can’t be found, tested, and required to testify. To learn more about impaired drivers click here.
Trucking companies and drivers are responsible for making sure only safe and well-maintained vehicles are on the road. For that reason, companies and drivers must document all maintenance checks, and if not properly done, they can be at-fault for an accident caused by poorly maintained equipment. Steering, cargo, brakes, mirrors, tires, conspicuity or reflective tape, and a host of other things must be checked and confirmed to be working before a driver may hit the road. Many times, though, companies do not keep their vehicles in top shape and drivers do not take the time to fully inspect trucks, leading to dangerous trucks being on the road.
You need a lawyer who has handled truck cases before. Mike Rafi has represented people who were injured in commercial vehicle crashes and defended companies in commercial vehicles cases. Mike knows both sides, and will use that to your advantage—contact him now for a free consultation.