Commercial trucks like big rigs, 18-wheelers, construction vehicles, semi-trucks, and tractor-trailers are a common sight on our roads and highways, and the role they play in transporting goods is vital to our economy. However, due to their size and weight, large commercial vehicles present unique dangers to smaller vehicles and their passengers. Accidents involving semi-trucks and other commercial vehicles are more dangerous than a typical car accident.
The average passenger vehicle weighs about 4,000 pounds, while tractor trailers can weigh more than 80,000 pounds. Due to the large size and weight of a semi-truck, it’s easy to see why trucking accidents often result in catastrophic injuries, and even death. And when trucking accidents do occur, the victims, unfortunately, are often those in the passenger vehicle.
Staying safe around large commercial vehicle is every driver’s responsibility. While most big-rig drivers are aware of the dangers caused by their oversized vehicles, other drivers on the road still need to take extra precautions when they are driving around large commercial vehicles. Even minor driving errors, such as failing to use a turn signal, following too closely, driving in a truck driver’s blind spot, or not taking appropriate precautions in inclement weather can lead to disastrous results.
Knowing the common causes of trucking accidents can help you stay safe when you drive around semi-trucks and other commercial vehicles.
Because of the size of the vehicles they are driving and the potentially disastrous consequences of a crash, truck drivers have a heightened responsibility when the are on the road. Unfortunately, many trucking company policies, like on-time requirements, incentivize operators to drive while drowsy or overly tired. Other times truck operators might drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, drive while distracted, or drive recklessly.
A fleet of commercial vehicles drives thousands of miles every day. Every mile driven puts wear and tear on the vehicle. Equipment failure, such as worn brake pads, a cracked windshield, or improper tire maintenance can lead to a crash with a truck. Trucking companies, drivers, and maintenance crews have an obligation to perform regular maintenance on the fleet. Before every shift, drivers should perform regular maintenance checks on the vehicle and submit a vehicle maintenance report.
Poor fleet maintenance isn’t the only thing that can lead to a catastrophic trucking crash. Equipment failure can also cause a deadly accident. Negligence by the manufacturer of a truck component or part can lead to a dangerous condition that could cause a crash. In a case like this, the manufacturer, distributor, or mechanic who installed the part might be legally responsible.
Even something as basic as bad weather can lead to a catastrophic car crash. Rain, snow, ice, and sleet can be especially challenging for a commercial truck driver hauling heavy loads. Truck drivers must drive at an appropriate speed, observe a longer following distance, and learn proper safe driving techniques to account for heavy loads and increased stopping distances. Failure to observe these safe driving techniques can result in skidding, hydroplaning, or jackknifing.
Truckers and cargo loading teams must abide by industry-specific rules when it comes to loading a commercial vehicle. There are weight, size, length, and height limits, as well as special methods that should be used when securing cargo. Failure to follow these safety precautions can cause a load to fall off, or make the vehicle more difficult to control. These mistakes can lead to catastrophic consequences.
If you were injured or someone you love was killed in trucking accident, it’s important that you speak to a skilled and experienced truck accident attorney as quickly as possible. Contact the experienced truck accident attorneys at the Robenalt Law Firm today for a free consultation to discuss your case. Call 216-223-7535, complete our online form, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tom Robenalt started his litigation career representing trucking companies at a large firm in Cleveland. For the past 20 years, he has used that experience to help victims and the families of those injured to secure compensation for trucking accidents.