Our country’s economy relies heavily on the trucking industry. They carry goods across the nation and are a vital part of commerce.

Tractor-trailers also share the road with other motorists, which means that the trucking industry has an obligation to take all necessary steps and precautions to prevent commercial trucking accidents. With the long hours driven, extreme distances traveled, and potential inclement weather encountered, crashes are far too common on our roads.

Many factors contribute to accidents involving truckers and their vehicles, though a few are more common than others.

DRIVER ERROR

Government officials estimate that up to 94% of all crashes are caused by human error. When it comes to large tractor-trailers, the margin for error facing truckers has major consequences for all motorists. Driver error might include or be the result of…

  • Distraction – Every day, more than 1,000 people are injured in distracted driving accidents. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has published specific rules aimed to eliminate mobile device usage by commercial vehicle drivers. However, all types of drivers occasionally give in to the temptation to use devices or engage in other behaviors that take their focus off the road.
  • FatigueStudies suggest that one out of every 10 crashes involves a fatigued driver. Fatigue is a major area of concern in the transportation industry for two reasons. First, drivers often travel for large chunks of time over long distances, both of which can cause fatigue. Second, nearly one-third of commercial truck drivers have sleep apnea, a sleeping disorder that increases a person’s chances of being involved in a crash.
  • Speeding – Over 25% of all fatal crashes involved a speeding driver. Though many commercial vehicles use speed limiters that govern how fast a truck can travel, these devices don’t stop someone from driving too fast in bad weather or in zones where speed limits tend to be lower, such as urban areas and school zones.

DEFECTIVE PARTS

Large trucks are very dangerous vehicles. Picture an older vehicle traveling at high speeds, sometimes in inclement weather for very long periods of time. This can create the “perfect storm” of events to cause a commercial trucking accident if a part or piece of machinery is defective or ineffective. Regulatory measures should be taken seriously by drivers and the companies they work for to avoid accidents. This means that regular inspections, repairs, and maintenance should be performed on all commercial vehicles.

INCLEMENT WEATHER

Like any vehicle, trucks are at greater risk for crashes during inclement weather. A commercial trucking accident is more likely to occur during rain, sleet, or snow, as trucks have a harder time stopping or steering in these conditions. The heavy loads they carry cause great danger to the drivers and passengers of other vehicles in these situations. As a result, many people each year are injured or killed in accidents with big rigs.

Nasty weather may contribute to many large truck accidents, but it doesn’t absolve negligent drivers. Drivers should adjust to the conditions of the road to ensure they are driving as safe as possible.

LOAD ISSUES

A major factor in accidents involving trucks is the weight or contents of the load being carried, which is why states and federal agencies have strict weight and loading regulations. When a commercial trucking accident occurs, it could be due to improper loading. Improper loading refers to imbalanced loads, unsecured loads, or overweight loads. The regulations in place for truckers dictate exactly how certain cargo should be loaded, what types of security measures should be taken to ensure loads don’t fall or shift during travel, and other concerns that could lead to dangerous accidents.

Many crashes involving commercial vehicles occur when there is no cargo or the truck is carrying a very light load. While the average driver isn’t familiar with the terms “deadheading” and  “bobtailing,” experienced truckers know them all too well. That’s because driving with an empty trailer or no trailer at all can be just as dangerous as driving with a full load.

NONCOMPLIANT DRIVERS OR COMPANIES

When selecting a trucking company or driver, industries need to be careful to ensure that all regulations are being followed and the truck and driver are following the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s rules. This agency works with law enforcement at the local, state, and federal levels to ensure the safety of all involved in the industry.

When a commercial trucking accident occurs, it is important to find the cause so the industry can increase standards and hopefully prevent similar accidents from occurring. If a victim of an accident such as this is injured, they may choose to seek out the cause as support for a possible lawsuit, should they decide that is the right step for them to take. 

Lawsuits against trucking companies can be complex matters. It’s not uncommon for trucking companies to have legal teams ready to be deployed as soon as a driver is involved in a crash. It is their business to mitigate their liability and reduce any legal costs they incur due to a negligent truck driver.

Anyone who has been injured in a large truck accident should consider hiring an attorney with direct experience handling these types of cases. The experience and skill required to stand up to the interests of trucking companies can make a big difference in the compensation an injured person receives.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a crash with a commercial vehicle, contact Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law to learn more about your legal options. We offer free consultations and, if we are able to handle your case, we accept no fee unless we win your case.