Causes of Tractor Trailer and Semi Truck Accidents- and How to Prevent them
Being involved in an accident with a tractor trailer or a semi-truck accident is muchdifferentthan being in an accident with another passenger vehicle. Not only do these commercial tractor trailers cause more serious injuries than passenger vehicle accidents, but any resulting personal injury claims can be much more complex.
The following are common causes of truck accidents in the U.S.:
Tractor trailer drivers can often travel hundreds or thousands of miles over a number of days. Although there are strict rules in place regulating how long drivers are permitted to drive without rest, many drivers don't follow them because of pressures from their employers to deliver goods within a certain time frame. With little sleep, tractor trailer drivers can lose concentration while driving, or may even fall asleep behind the wheel.
Poor Truck Maintenance
Although commercial tractor trailer owners are required to maintain their vehicles, maintenance is sometimes overlooked due to the cost and time involved to properly maintain the truck. Improperly maintained systems like brakes, tires, or engines can lead to serious accidents.
Poor Weather Conditions
Inclement weather conditions like heavy snow, rain, ice, wind or fog can impact the driver's ability to drive safely. Due to the weight of and slow stopping speeds of semi trucks, it's easy for a driver who has not been properly trained to drive in these weather conditions to cause an accident.
Driver Inexperience & Lack of Training
Trucking companies will sometimes pay for new drivers to complete CDL training and then immediately put them behind the wheel of large and dangerous tractor trailers. While inexperienced drivers are appealing to trucking companies as they often charge less per mile than experienced drivers, they may not be entirely familiar with the vehicles they've been assigned to drive.
FAILING TO LOOK IN MIRRORS BEFORE CHANGING LANES
Truck drivers must look in the side view mirrors and a convex mirror on the hood or fender of the truck before changing lanes. This is because of blind spots that a truck driver inherently has when driving a truck.
Do I Need a Truck Accident Lawyer?
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a semi-truck accident, you may wish to consult with a personal injury attorney who is familiar with these types of accidents. An experienced attorney will be familiar with all state and federal regulations for commercial truck drivers and will be able to identify any negligence by the driver or trucking company.
The sheer size of large truck vehicles (since they weigh at least five tons) means that accident damage can be severe. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of large trucks involved in fatalities is on the decline; however, in 2018, there were 112,000 non-fatal accidents involving large trucks (up five percent from 2017), and 414,000 large-truck accidents involving property damage—up 14% from the year before.
These researchers concluded that vehicle maintenance and performance are common reasons for an accident. Brake problems are involved in 29% of large truck accidents—making them a leading factor in large truck crashes.
However, for the lion's share of accidents (87%), the driver was the determining factor. For example, drivers fell asleep, were intoxicated, or were physically impaired. They weren't paying enough attention to the road. They made a poor decision, drove too fast, or misjudged another driver's position. Or they just performed poorly panicking or losing control of the vehicle.
That's why, when litigating truck accident cases, plaintiff attorneys will get not just the records relating to the accident, but they will also examine the drivers' training and driving records, the truck maintenance records, and much more.
If you've been involved in a truck accident, the first, most urgent thing to do is seek medical evaluation and treatment. After this initial exam, continue to take care of yourself—addressing not just your immediate physical needs but also your long-term care and wellbeing. And that means you should talk to a lawyer.
With a 100% success rate from 2014-2020, Ed Lemmo, Esq. is one of New York's top personal injury trial attorneys. With a very high rating from AVVO, the prestigious attorney rating service, Lemmo is a member of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association. He serves as trial counsel for many of New York's finest law firms, and his trial verdicts are regularly published in New York Jury Verdict and New York Jury Verdict Reporter. Lemmo represents plaintiffs in all five boroughs and upstate New York in matters ranging from car accidents to medical malpractice.