Every year across America thousands of people die in accidents involving big rigs or other commercial vehicles. A crash with a large commercial vehicle is statistically much more dangerous than the same incident involving two passenger cars. Because a semi-truck can wipe out an entire family in a matter of seconds, truck drivers and trucking companies must comply with essential safety rules much like airline pilots. Professional truck drivers must be specially licensed and go through specialized training because of the size of the vehicle they are operating on our roadways.
The majority of deaths in big truck wrecks are the passenger vehicle occupants. Smaller vehicles are much more vulnerable to vehicles that weigh 20 to 30 times more than the car.
The vast majority of large truck crashes occur because of driver error. Approximately 85% of all fatal crashes involve driver error. The most significant percentage of the fatal accidents occur because a truck runs out of its lane of travel or loses control. Speed and failure to maintain an insured clear distance are also highly rated factors in large truck crashes.
Driver error can be attributable to many different reasons from physical or mental impairment, medical condition, fatigue and most commonly poor judgment.
CONDITION OF VEHICLE
Vehicle condition is the next significant cause of big truck accidents. The most common of the vehicle deficiency is inadequate brakes which prevent the 18-wheeler from stopping timely, followed by overloaded vehicles and defective tires. Trucking companies are required by law to create policies to inspect and repair commercial vehicles under their control to ensure that the tractor-trailers are safe before being driven on the highway.
Truck drivers must inspect their vehicle both before and after each day’s work. Unfortunately, many trucking companies and truck drivers are too busy trying to move the loads to actually perform the duties required of them regarding the condition of the vehicle.
Daily vehicle inspections can turn out to be nothing more than filling out a form without actually having performed the review. Many vehicles are found “out of service” each day across America after a traffic stop.
Implement weather is a factor in many crashes that could have prevented if the truck driver followed the safety regulations regarding weather. When the condition of the roadway or other driving conditions become hazardous, truck drivers are required to slow down and when necessary, pull off the roadway until conditions improve. Drivers paid by the mile do not earn money while sitting off the road.
Driving fatigued is one factor that is suspected in numerous truck accidents and may not be discovered by investigators until after an in-depth analysis of the truck drivers route and telephone records. This discovery usually takes place it an 18-wheeler accident attorney files a lawsuit.
For safety reasons, truck drivers can’t drive more than a set number of hours each day and each week. After every trip, a truck driver is required to have ten consecutive hours off duty to prevent a fatigued driver.
Pushing the envelope by driving over the hours of service happens every day across our great country.
Recently, the safety rules require most vehicles to have electronic logging devices instead of paper logs. The intent is that the digital logbooks will prevent the logbook cheating that has been prevalent in the trucking industry. The electronic data automatically log time when the vehicle is moving.
Not every vehicle is required to have the electronic logs installed nor is every commercial driver. However, the vast majority of interstate drivers must utilize the electronic logs.
INVESTIGATION OF TRUCKING ACCIDENTS
Investigation of a truck accident should take place as soon as possible after the crash. Insurance carriers for trucking companies have quick response teams that have attorneys at the crash site often within hours after receiving notification of the accident. Usually, the attorneys for the insurance company will be able to talk with the investigating officers and even have expert witnesses at the scene before the victims have even thought about attorneys.
Families of people killed in truck accidents should investigate attorneys before signing any paperwork retaining the attorneys. For best possible results, selecting an attorney whose practice specializes in 18-wheeler accident cases is recommended. Do your homework early so you can hire the best attorney for your trucking accident case as soon as you can.
Call us for a no obligation trucking accident consultation 281 – 587 – 1111.