Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Due to their immense size and weight, the presence of commercial trucks like big rigs and delivery trucks on the road often create treacherous, and sometimes deadly, roadway conditions for passenger vehicles and their occupants. While an average passenger vehicle (i.e. a car, a pickup truck, or a sports utility vehicle) weighs approximately 4,000 pounds, commercial trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Given this weight disparity, it is easy to see how getting into an accident with a commercial truck can lead to major damage to passenger vehicles, both minor and major injuries to vehicle drivers and occupants, and even death. We, the lawyers at Berger & Lagnese, LLC, have compiled some information regarding the most common causes of truck accidents so that you and your loved ones have the information you need to better protect yourselves from the hazards commercial trucks present on the road.
Despite new federal and state regulations that place increasing responsibility on trucking companies to ensure their drivers are driving safely, truck drivers, like other drivers, still make mistakes. Fatigue, distractions, like operating a mobile phone while driving, driving while under the influence or drugs or alcohol, and inadequate driver training can cause even the most seasoned truck drivers to make errors while driving that result in accidents.
Unsafe Driving Practices
In addition to driver fatigue, distracted driving, and driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, adequately trained truck drivers may still utilize unsafe driving practices while they are alert and focused. Truck drivers’ utilization of unsafe driving practices may cause accidents that result in severe injury or death to others. Unsafe driving practices include speeding, failure to check for blind spots, failure to use turn signals, following vehicles too closely, making frequent lane changes, and succumbing to the effects of road rage.
Improper Cargo Loading
Truck drivers and cargo loading teams have to abide by industry standards and regulations when loading items into the bed of a commercial truck. Failure to abide by these standards, which include adhering to weight, size, and height limitations on cargo loads and using specific methods of securing cargo loads, can cause a cargo load to fall out of or of off a truck and into the roadway, causing accidents. If this occurs, the truck driver, members of the cargo loading team, and/or the trucking company may be at-fault for any accident that results.
Improper or Poor Truck Maintenance
Commercial trucks are often driven thousands of miles everyday, which can result in rapid wear and tear to the trucks. It is the responsibility of trucking companies and their drivers to ensure that maintenance checks are routinely performed on the trucks, that these checks are well-documented, and that all trucks that need to be serviced receive proper service before going back out on the road. If trucking companies and their drivers fail to perform these essential tasks, then the trucks may malfunction while being driven and these truck malfunctions can cause major vehicle accidents to occur. Common examples of truck malfunction due to improper or poor maintenance include brake failure, suspension failure, or tire blowouts.
Even if trucking companies and their drivers perform proper and adequate maintenance checks of their trucks, parts manufacturers, truck manufacturers, and/or a prior owner may have manufactured and/or installed a defective part on a truck and this defect may be hidden or unknown to a truck driver until it is too late. If there is a hidden or unknown part defect, a truck may malfunction on the road and cause an accident. If this occurs, the parts manufacturers, truck manufacturers, and/or a prior owner may be liable for the accident.
Poor Weather Conditions
Poor weather conditions such as rain, sleet, and snow may cause truck drivers who are not prepared to drive in such conditions to crash into unsuspecting passenger vehicles or to abruptly overturn on the roadway, causing those passenger vehicles behind them to crash into one another or to drive off of the road. For this reason, proceed with caution when driving near a commercial truck in inclement weather.
Contact our Experienced Truck Accident Attorneys Today
If you or a loved one have been injured in a trucking accident, find out about your legal options. Contact the lawyers at Berger & Lagnese, LLC to discuss your case now. Remember, you will owe no attorney’s fee unless we are successful.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.