After a semi truck accident, talking with an attorney is something many victims choose to do. When an 18-wheeler is involved in a collision, the results can be devastating due to their size and weight. With 80,000 pounds (legal weight limit for big-rigs) of steel bearing down on a 3,500-pound passenger vehicle, it is easy to see how this type of wreck can be so violent. The sad thing is that most of these collisions are completely preventable. A government study found the top five causes for collisions involving big-rigs were fatigue, distractions, improper maintenance, unsafe driving practices, and driving while impaired. Let us take a look and see how these five elements lead to collisions.
Driver Tiredness and Fatigue
The number one cause of 18-wheeler collisions, fatigue is most often due to drivers ignoring federal regulations regarding rest periods and allowable driving time. There are strict guidelines in place stating that a driver can only drive a total of 8 hours consecutively and must take 30-minute breaks. Drivers are often paid by the mile, so they feel pressured to stay behind the wheel longer than is safe. Driving while fatigued is the same as drunk driving—there is a profound loss of concentration, poor mental acuity, and delayed reaction time.
It is lonely and somewhat boring when driving those long hauls, so big-rig drivers look for ways to escape it by messing with electronic devices (radios, navigations systems, etc.), talking and texting on their cell phones, or eating. Once their eyes leave the road, they do not see the little car that has gotten in front of them and consequently ends up barreling over them. Collisions can turn deadly quickly when they involve 18-wheelers and passenger cars.
All big-rigs must undergo regular maintenance and checks before, during, and after any runs. In an effort to get back on the road as quickly as possible, these inspections go unperformed, leading to malfunctions (like brake failure) that can injure or kill other drivers if there is an accident.
Unsafe Driving Practices
Like all drivers, 18-wheeler drivers become so accustomed to it, that they begin to exhibit poor driving practices, like speeding, frequent lane changes, not checking their blind spots, lack of turn signals, tailgating or following too closely, or road rage. Unsafe maneuvers can cause a series of other unsafe reactions by other drivers leading to deadly pile-ups.
Driving while Impaired
Did you know that one out of three traffic deaths involves driving while impaired – by either alcohol, drugs, or fatigue? Driving while impaired is a serious offense. A drunk driver sitting behind the wheel of 80,000-pound 18-wheeler is essentially a ticking time bomb for a deadly collision.
If you or a loved one is involved in a collision with an 18-wheeler, you may want to speak with an experienced semi truck accident attorney. They will assist you by collecting evidence and investigating the cause of the accident. They have a thorough understanding of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and state trucking laws. A semi truck accident attorney will be able to help you determine who should be held accountable for the damages and help you get the settlement you need to get your life back together.