Driving between a pair of 80,000-pound tractor-trailers is one of the most terrifying things you can do. We have good reason to be afraid of these highway giants, even though it may not happen frequently. Unfortunately, there are some truck drivers and trucking companies that do not adhere to the many state and federally mandated regulations and safe driving practices, putting all other road users at risk of severe harm or death.
Large Truck Accident Statistics
3,964 people died in truck accidents in the United States in 2013., according to the Office for National Traffic Safety (NHTSA). 95,000 were injured. According to additional data for 2013, large trucks were 22 percent more likely to be involved in fatal multiple-vehicle crashes than passenger cars. In addition, compared to almost 16 percent of drivers of passenger cars involved in fatal crashes, nearly 17 percent of all large-truck drivers had at least one prior conviction for speeding.
In 2013, 4,125 cars were involved in fatal collisions in California. 249 of these were large trucks. Texas had 493 large trucks involved in fatal crashes, the most of any state in the entire country.
The truck driver and/or trucking company may be liable for your losses if you or a loved one suffered an injury or lost a loved one as a result of their careless or negligent behavior. The best course of action for you and your family can be determined with the assistance of an experienced large truck accident lawyer.
Common Causes of Tractor Trailer Crashes
Truck drivers should exercise extra caution on the road because they are in charge of very large and heavy vehicles, but this is not always the case. Negligence on the part of a big rig driver or trucking company greatly increases the likelihood that an accident will occur and result in catastrophic damage. Examples of such negligence may include:
- Overloaded Truck – How much a large truck can weigh is governed by both state and federal laws. However, there is more to this than just one weight or one number. Laws governing the weight distribution over each axle are also available. These guidelines were put in place to ensure that the truck could be operated safely while still preserving the structural integrity of the road. Unfortunately, cramming more cargo into the trailer may be an attempt by drivers, trucking companies, or both to boost profits. As a result, there is a higher chance of a serious crash and problems with both braking and overall maneuverability.
- Fatigued Truck Driver – To avoid driving longer than is safe, large truck drivers must abide by the FMCSA’s Hours of Service (HOS) regulations. Anyone behind the wheel who is drowsy experiences slower reaction times, is more susceptible to distractions, is less attentive, and may even doze off. Sadly, some drivers or trucking companies still put pressure on their drivers to break the law in order to complete deliveries more quickly. Faster deliveries equate to more money, and some people may believe that earning more money justifies putting everyone’s lives in danger while driving. In actuality, though, they are also endangering their own safety.
- Underride Accident – In comparison to other vehicles, tractor trailers are larger, heavier, and taller. Consequently, there is a chance of colliding with a truck. Trucks have underride guards on the back and sides because of this. Unfortunately, these underride guards are frequently improperly installed, made of subpar materials, damaged, or absent altogether. The truck driver or trucking company may be held, at least in part, liable for a victim’s losses regardless of the cause of an underride collision if the guards are inadequate.