January 21, 2022
Tags: Oil Rig Accident Lawyer
Commercial truck accidents often require more work to investigate than a car crash. There are many more things that can go wrong. These are large vehicles that are difficult to operate by even the most experienced drivers. When truck accidents happen, other motorists and their passengers often suffer serious injuries. Here are some of the most common causes of commercial truck accidents.
There are federal regulations that restrict how many hours a driver can be behind the wheel for and mandate rest stops. However, these rules are not always followed. Even when operators do adhere to the federal restrictions, they may do their driving late at night to maximize their driving time. This is not to say that they are actually resting during the time that they cannot drive. Fatigued driving dulls operators’ reaction times and takes their focus away from the road. Drivers do not even have to fall asleep to be a danger. Going 20 hours or more without sleep is equivalent to driving over the legal alcohol limit. Not getting the proper rest and failing to take breaks make truck drivers an obvious hazard. Caffeine does not make up for the value of sleep and rest, and drivers cannot simply “power through” when they get tired.
Even when drivers do everything right, they are only as safe as their trucks. Trucking companies often cut corners to get their vehicles on the road. If their trucks are in the service bay, they cannot be out making money. There are federal rules governing truck maintenance, but trucking companies cut corners to keep their trucks moving. One of the most dangerous problems caused by improper maintenance is tire blowouts. This will cause the driver to lose control of their truck, and they will often hit other drivers on the road. Trucks are hard enough to operate. When trucks are operating without complete maintenance, truck drivers may have an even harder time. Safe trucks are a combination of driver skill and attention and a properly maintained vehicle.
There is a national truck driver shortage these days. Trucking companies simply cannot find enough people to put behind the wheel, and higher wages are not attracting more people. Drivers who may not have been qualified to be out on the road are now operating 80,000-pound trucks. At the same time, these companies are giving these drivers the keys much more quickly, in spite of strict regulations about driver training and qualifications. Tractor-trailers are very difficult for anyone, let alone a driver who has not been adequately trained. Experienced drivers have difficulty avoiding accidents, and inexperienced operators are a downright hazard to everyone else on the road.
Truck drivers are often in a rush to get where they are going. They are under strict deadlines, and customers will complain when they need to wait for a shipment. However, as mentioned above, federal regulations force them to take breaks. Some drivers try to make up for this and stay on schedule by speeding. These truck drivers have a much greater chance of losing control of their vehicles, as heavy trucks are difficult to drive even when an operator is obeying the speed limit. It is not uncommon to see trucks illegally in the fast lane going 15 miles per hour or more above the speed limit. Trucks are also difficult to stop, and speeding drivers may rear-end cars in front of them when they cannot stop in time to avoid other cars.
When they are on longer journeys, truck drivers may have a dangerous habit of trying to multitask behind the wheel. They are trying to maximize their shift, so they may not want to pull over to do things such as eat. Even worse, they may try to use their phone to talk or send a text when they are driving. Boredom could cause them to pick up their phone. Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of accidents in the United States. All it takes is a couple of seconds with a driver looking down to miss seeing something. Truck drivers need all of their reaction time, and a momentary distraction could lead to a major accident.
Trucking companies are under pressure to get as much as possible onto the truck. If they send a truck out onto the road with extra space, it could be a wasted profit opportunity. They might also want to get the truck out onto the road in a hurry, cutting corners when it comes to securing the cargo. A truck does not need to hit another driver to cause severe injuries. Some accidents happen when cargo falls from the truck onto the roadway. Drivers lose control when they hit the cargo or swerve to avoid it.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a truck accident, the trucking company can be made to pay if their driver was at fault for the accident. Any of the causes that we described above are examples of what may be considered truck driver negligence. This could be enough to prove that you are legally entitled to financial compensation. However, you will need the proof that this happened. While you may think that the driver was speeding before your accident, you will need evidence to back up your side of the story.
The attorneys at Egenburg Trial Lawyers are experienced and aggressive, and we have a track record of helping injured clients recover for their injuries. We know how to investigate truck accidents and the special considerations at play. Insurance companies know us well because we hold their feet to the fire and do not let them take advantage of our clients. Call us today at (504) 229-5700 or contact us online to schedule your free initial consultation. One phone call is enough to give you the peace of mind that you have a seasoned attorney in your corner.