What Causes Semi-Truck Accidents?
We’ve all driven by a collision that involved a semi-truck and been horrified at the amount of resulting damage. Few, however, are aware of just how common these types of accidents are. For instance, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) estimates that of the nearly 475,000 crashes involving large trucks that occurred in 2016, 3,864 were fatal and 104,000 resulted in an injury to one or more individuals. These numbers are alarming for those of us who spend any amount of time on the road, whether as drivers, passengers, cyclists, or pedestrians.
Fortunately, those who are injured in accidents with large trucks through no fault of their own, do have legal recourse, so if you or a loved one were involved in this type of collision, it is important to speak with an experienced truck accident attorney who can explain your legal options.
There are, like with any other type of accident, a variety of reasons why accidents involving large trucks occur. However, there are certain activities that have been linked definitively to this kind of accident, one of which is driver fatigue. In fact, the FMCSA estimates that as many as 13 percent of all commercial vehicle drivers who were involved in accidents in 2016, were fatigued at the time of the collision. Fatigue is dangerous for any driver, but is especially risky for truck drivers whose vehicles are so much larger and heavier than passenger vehicles.
Fatigue can be caused by a lack of sleep, strenuous activities, extended work hours, or a combination of these factors. For these reasons, truck drivers are at an especially high risk of suffering from fatigue, as they are required to drive thousands of miles and in many cases, are actually paid based on the number of miles that they drive, incentivizing them to drive further distances over a shorter period of time.
Transportation companies and their drivers are required by federal law to keep their vehicles in good condition. This includes maintaining and repairing tires, braking systems, and the mechanisms that connect trucks to their trailers. Unfortunately, some companies fail to ensure that their trucks receive periodic maintenance and undergo inspections as required, which can lead to worn tires, unsafe trailers, and malfunctioning brakes, all of which can have deadly consequences for anyone else on the road.
Inexperience and inadequate training have also been linked to a large number of truck accidents that occur in the U.S. Although responsible for ensuring that they properly hire and train their employees, many trucking companies rush their drivers through training in order to get them on the road as fast as possible, or fail to advise them on how to conduct regular maintenance. This type of conduct puts others at risk and, in the event of an accident, opens the company up to liability for the crash.
Failing to properly distribute weight when loading and transporting cargo also causes thousands of accidents every year. Jack-knifing is especially common in these cases, which is particularly dangerous for other vehicles on the road, as it tends to block multiple lanes of traffic and can cause multi-car pile-ups. Failing to properly secure cargo can also lead to rollover accidents or even spills in the event of a collision.
Contact a Florida Truck Accident Attorney Today
To speak with an experienced truck accident lawyer about your legal options, please call Boone & Davis in Fort Lauderdale at 954-566-9919 today.