Every year, over 10 million commercial trucks travel 275 billion miles on our nation’s roadways. With so many large trucks under pressure to deliver goods as efficiently as possible, accidents happen. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reports that in 2013 large trucks were involved in more than 3,800 fatal crashes, and statistics show that those most at risk in those crashes are the occupants of passenger cars. Commercial trucks are heavier and taller than other vehicles on the road, making them capable of greater damage.
Causes of Truck Accidents
Like any other type of accidents, there are many factors that can be responsible for truck accidents. Some of the most common factors include:
- Driver fatigue. Federal hours-of-service rules regulate how long a driver may operate his truck, but surveys suggest that these rules are often broken. Tired truckers have been cited in many serious accidents.
- Defective brakes. Brake problems were one of the most cited truck issues during roadside inspections in 2013. When the brakes cannot function properly, rollovers, rear-end collisions, and underride crashes can occur.
- Defective tires. Like defective brakes, defective tires upset the balance of the vehicle and can lead to dangerous accidents. Tires are often mismatched, not secured properly, or simply improperly inflated.
- Speeding. Speeding is a common problem among all drivers, but the danger increases when a large vehicle is traveling too fast. A large truck requires a greater stopping distance than a smaller car, and a driver may not be able to recognize a dangerous situation or have enough time to stop when speeding.
- Improper loading. If the cargo in a truck is not secure, it can shift during the journey. This can create a dangerous imbalance or even cause the cargo to fall off the truck and onto the road.
Consequences of Truck Accidents
Many commercial trucks traverse the road safely every day. However, when trucking companies or drivers fail to meet their obligation to operate properly maintained vehicles with safe drivers, accidents do happen. The consequences of this type of accident are serious and can include:
- Broken bones
- Brain damage
If you or someone you love has been hurt in a truck accident, you may be eligible to file a claim. Visit our website to chat live with an experienced member of the legal team at Morris James LLP.