Common Causes of Truck Accidents in the United States
When a passenger vehicle or normal-sized car collides with a tractor-trailer, the consequences are often devastating due to the weight and power of the large truck.
If you or a family member has been hurt in a truck accident in Virginia, you know the pain and stress it can cause. Fortunately, help is available.
Richmond personal injury lawyer Corey Pollard has the experience and skill necessary to handle your trucking accident case. We are here to help you and your family obtain fair compensation if you are the victim of a trucking accident. You can use this compensation to move forward with your life.
Contact us today if you are looking for a top-rated trucking accident attorney to handle your case in Virginia or Maryland. Your consultation is free and there is no fee unless we obtain a financial recovery for your damages.
Trucking Accident Causes
Though negligent truck drivers are responsible for many trucking accidents, other motorists can cause and contribute to these crashes.
This article discusses common causes of truck accidents in Virginia and across the country.
Top Causes of Truck Accidents Caused by Commercial Truck Drivers
A person must attend professional truck driving school and obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to drive a tractor-trailer. Many of these CDL programs last three to six months.
Even though a truck driver has special credentials, he or she must still exercise extra caution due to the size, weight, and awkwardness of the trucks, as well as the cargo they contain. Some trucks transport hazardous cargo that is flammable and can cause additional damage if spilled on the roadway.
Common causes of truck accidents caused by commercial drivers include:
Driving a large truck is a lot different from driving a passenger car. The cargo held in the truck’s trailer impacts the truck’s handling and performance. This is why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has issued regulations that determine how much weight a semi-truck can carry. If a semi-truck is overloaded or overweight, it could cause a crash. Overweight trucks may also jackknife or experience tire blowouts due to the excess weight.
Cargo must be secured properly also. Unsecured cargo may move around the trailer, causing the weight to shift. This is dangerous and can lead to severe injuries.
Illegal Driving Maneuvers
These illegal traffic maneuvers are frequent causes of truck crashes: driving in the wrong direction; turning from the wrong lane; following too close; illegal passing; turning in a prohibited area; and, making a U-turn in a prohibited area.
Inadequate or Improper Training
If a driver has his or her CDL, but lacks the experience and training to handle the cargo and roadway conditions, then there is an increased risk of an accident.
A commercial truck driver has conducted inadequate surveillance when the driver is required to look to complete a maneuver safely and either fails to look in the correct place or looks, but does not see, another hazard. Inadequate surveillance may happen while changing lanes or turning at intersections.
Driving Too Fast for Conditions
Commercial truck drivers should sometimes travel at a speed that is slower than the speed limit. For example, truckers should travel at lower speeds when there is a wet roadway (snow, ice, or rain), reduced visibility because of fog, a gravel road, a construction zone, or an uneven road. The Large Truck Crash Causation Study found that 23 percent of large truck crashes occurred when the commercial motor vehicle driver was driving too fast for the weather and road conditions.
Truck drivers spend many hours on the road and away from their families. This can lead some truckers to try to multitask while doing their job. Driver distractions, such as texting, talking on the phone or radio, using a mobile device, eating, or drinking, can cause tractor-trailer accidents.
Spending hours on the road and having to load and unload cargo can cause fatigue and tiredness. Fatigue impairs performance and increases the risk of a truck crash. Driver fatigue is often caused by inadequate sleep, long work hours, difficult physical labor, and other factors. The Large Truck Crash Causation Study indicated that 13 percent of truck drivers were considered to have been fatigued at the time of their wreck.
Like the rest of us, truckers want to provide for themselves and their families. And they are often put under pressure by their employers to meet unrealistic deadlines for deliveries. This can cause some truckers to drive unsafely, which puts everyone at risk of injuries and even death.
Driving While Under the Influence
A trucker may make the poor choice to operate their vehicle after drinking or taking illegal drugs or prescription medication with serious side effects. This can have severe consequences.
Equipment Failure or Malfunction
Like passenger vehicles, tractor-trailers can experience equipment failure due to dangerous roadways, the weather, and other factors.
Improper Truck Maintenance
Trucking companies must maintain their tractors and trailers. They are responsible for their upkeep. All inspections and maintenance checks must be documented. If a truck company fails to maintain their equipment and the equipment failure causes a crash, then you may have a trucking claim. Common examples of equipment malfunctions include tire blowouts and faulty brakes.
Top Causes of Truck Accidents Caused by Passenger Car Drivers
Many news reports and articles discussing trucking accidents highlight the negligence of commercial truck drivers and their employers. But other motorists can cause or contribute to tractor-trailer crashes.
Commercial truck drivers not only have to worry about controlling their tractor-trailers, but also the driving abilities of others on the road. As trucking accident lawyers we must perform our due diligence and investigate the role that each party played in the crash.
Here are some of the ways that a negligent motorist can cause or contribute to a serious trucking accident:
Driving in the Large Truck’s Blind Spot
Many tractor-trailers have stickers that say: “If you can’t see my mirrors, then I can’t see you.” There is a reason for this. Truck drivers may have no visibility in their blind spots. You may be able to avoid a crash by staying out of the trucker’s blind spot.
Changing Lanes Suddenly in Front of a Semi-Truck
It takes commercial trucks more time and distance to lower their speed and stop. If you pull in front of a semi-truck quickly, there is an increased risk of an accident because the truck driver does not have enough time to respond. Do not cut off commercial vehicles when trying to pass them.
Not Giving Semi-Trucks Enough Space
In urban and suburban areas, it can be difficult for trucks to make turns. Even though a passenger vehicle may be able to make the turn, the truck may need more space because of its length and width. If you see a large truck making a wide turn, slow down and give the trucker time and space to maneuver.
Avoid passing large trucks on curves or hills or in in areas where you have limited visibility. The trucker may not have enough time if you brake suddenly.
Driving Between Two Commercial Vehicles
Driving between two commercial trucks on an interstate or roadway is dangerous. Both truckers may have a difficult time seeing you and your vehicle could be crashed in a multi-vehicle accident.
Tailgating the Tractor-Trailer
You may be in a hurry, but tailgating a large truck puts you and others at risk of being hurt. Following a tractor-trailer too closely limits your field of vision and you’ll have a difficult time stopping in time if the truck comes to a stop.
Failure to Adjust Speed at On Ramps
Merge lanes can be dangerous and cause tractor-trailer accidents. Because trucks have a difficult time getting up to speed, you can make things easier by adjusting your speed or changing lanes so that the large truck has plenty of room to enter the roadway.
Other Causes of Truck Accidents
Other common causes of trucking accidents include: lack of familiarity with the roadways; road construction projects that cause roadblocks, delays, and less space to maneuver; and poor weather.
Speak with an Experienced Trucking Attorney!
If you have been injured in a truck accident in Virginia, you need and deserve an attorney who knows how to build, develop, and litigate these cases. Trucking accidents require more expertise and knowledge than the typical case involving a car accident.
You may have a legal claim against not only the truck driver, but also the trucking company and any parties involved in the roadway conditions, driver’s health, and vehicle maintenance. Corey Pollard will investigate all possible sources of recovery and help you prosecute your case.
If you’re looking for someone who knows trucking law, then look no further than Corey Pollard. Contact our firm today for a free consultation. We want to help you.