When a semi-truck and a passenger vehicle collide, the consequences can be deadly. Although accidents happen, there are generally causes for these accidents that could have been avoided. A truck and car accident is often fatal, because the size of the commercial truck makes it a more serious threat to other vehicles on the road. Like any type of accident, each truck accident is unique. However, there are several causes of truck accidents that can often be avoided and Springer & Lyle are here to help if you get injured as a result of a negligent truck driver that fails to take proper precautions well known in the trucking industry.
Tractor-trailer rigs can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds when fully loaded. Because the fee for transporting some loads is paid by the pound, temptations exist to load trucks to the maximum weight and beyond. In addition, some loads, such as frozen meats and liquids can shift during transport unless care is taken to ensure that they are properly loaded. Overweight loads take longer to stop and can cause dangerous jack-knives. Improperly loaded trucks are more susceptible to rolling over. Although it is partially the responsibility of the truck driver to ensure the load being carried is secured and meets the weight guidelines, some trucking carriers require the driver to carry an excess weight as a way of increasing profits. In the situation where an improper loaded truck causes a car accident, a personal injury attorney experienced in the area will help you prove the driver as well as the trucking carrier may have been responsible for your injuries.
Federal and state regulations require tractor-trailer rigs to be maintained regularly so that they are safe to operate on roadways. There are many ways that truck maintenance can affect safety: For example, all trucks have brakes that, if poorly maintained, will make a rig slower to stop, or may even fail to stop it when fully loaded; improperly maintained brakes cause trucks to veer to the side when the brakes are applied; if a trucks carries shipping containers that are not properly secured to a trailer, or “chassis” as it is called in the industry, the container can detach during transport; hoses can fail; electrical systems can fail. Experienced attorneys know how to preserve tractor-trailer rigs after an accident to make sure these are inspected and investigated for the kinds of deficiencies in maintence that lead to accidents and injuries.
There is a significant amount of pressure for a commercial truck driver to meet deadlines. The majority of truck drivers are paid by the mile, or perhaps even by the load, so when they are stuck in traffic, waiting to be loaded, or held up at weigh stations, the delay can have an impact on their earnings. As a result, many drivers will drive longer and travel further to build their miles or deliver a few extra loads. This situation has become such a dangerous problem that Federal and state governments have imposed specific regulations the amount of hours a driver can be on the road. Truck drivers are also required to maintain a log book that specifies the amount of miles/hours driven as well as the number of hours they stopped to rest. These log books are only required to be kept for a short period of time, so it is important to make sure they are preserved if a vehicle-truck crash has occurred. If you are involved in an accident with a commercial truck, Springer & Lyle will work to preserve the log books so that they can be requested to help determine if fatigue may have contributed to the accident.
Whether the vehicle being driven is a passenger vehicle or an 18-wheeler, distractions are one of the primary reasons for fatal accidents on the roadways. There are a range of reasons why a truck driver may be distracted while driving, but one of the most common reasons a truck driver may be involved in an accident or a near-miss, is due to texting while driving. There are regulations that prevent distractions, such as texting while driving; however, it continues to be a significant problem and one that may lead to fatalities. If you are involved in a truck accident, your personal injury attorney will request the cell phone records of the truck driver to determine if the driver was indeed using the phone at the time of the accident.
Failing to Follow the Rules of the Road
Regardless of the type of vehicle being driven, when the rules of the road are not being followed, an accident can occur. However, the risks are much more serious when commercial trucks fail to follow the rules of the road. For example, when a big truck is speeding they are unable to brake as quickly as normal and when a wreck happens with a large, heavy commercial truck and at a high rate of speed, there is a greater chance of the injuries being severe and/or fatal. As your personal injury attorney, Springer & Lyle gather information, such as recording systems and the so-called “black box” information recorded by commercial trucking rigs. This data can help determine such things as the rate of speed the truck was traveling, how close a truck was following traffic, and if and when the truck driver attempted to brake to help determine if speed was the reason for your injuries.
It is unsafe to consume illegal drugs and/or alcohol and get behind the wheel of any vehicle. However, this is especially true of a commercial truck driver, because their vehicle is significantly larger in size and weight, which makes the driver and their vehicle more dangerous for passenger vehicles. Although there are laws in place in each state that prohibit driving while under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, some drivers continue to go against this law. If a serious accident happens, truck drivers are required to be tested immediately afterward. The truck driver will be tested for drugs and/or alcohol and if they are found in their system, the attorneys at Springer & Lyle understand how to find and secure the evidence to be used as part of your claim for compensation of your injuries.
There are a wide range of factors that may cause truck accidents, ranging from fatigue to weather conditions. The important thing to know is that if you are involved in an accident with a commercial truck, it is essential that the investigation for the cause of the accident begin as soon as possible after the accident.