Truck and Tractor-trailer accidents can result when drivers of large commercial vehicles fail to live up to their obligations. Truck drivers are required to have a professional commercial driver's license and are expected to check their load balance carefully, comply with all federal and state safety regulations and drive in a safe way to avoid injuring other motorists, bicyclists or pedestrians.
Unfortunately, some truck drivers make careless mistakes. These mistakes can cost motorists their lives in a collision with a tractor-trailer.
Some of the top causes of tractor-trailer crashes include:
- Driver fatigue. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) estimates that driver fatigue is a factor in as many as 6,000 truck accidents each year. New hours-of-service rules mandate a break within the first eight hours of driving for long-haul drivers and reducing the average weekly hours from 82 to 70 hours per week. While these changes may help reduce accidents, it is still up to truck drivers to make the safe choice and stop driving when they are too tired.
- Speeding. Truckers are often on a tight schedule and sometimes they speed to make up for lost time on their route. Truckers who exceed the speed limit are more likely to lose control of their vehicles, roll their vehicle or be unable to stop in time to avoid hitting another vehicle. Speed-related accidents include not only crashes where a driver breaks the posted limit, but also wrecks where a tractor-trailer driver goes too fast for road, weather or traffic conditions.
- Distracted driving. Truck drivers who are on a cell phone, sending a text message, watching a video or using in-vehicle controls are as much as 4 to 23 times more likely to cause an accident. Any activity that causes a driver to look away from the road may significantly increase the chances of a devastating tractor-trailer accident.
- Unbalanced loads. When a tractor-trailer is improperly loaded or a driver fails to balance the load, this can increase the risk of an accident. Rollover accidents are especially common with improperly loaded trucks or when improperly secured freight shifts in transit.
We hope that you or a loved one never experience a serious accident with a truck or tractor trailer, but if you do it is important to act quickly to preserve your rights and get the justice you deserve. Because trucking companies have to carry large insurance polices due to the significant damage a truck accident can incur, the insurance company may quickly try to diminish your claim to help deter against a substantial settlement that you may be entitled due to the fault of the truck driver. Don't let the trucking company take advantage or you, call the Shealey Law Firm now to make sure your rights and your future are preserved.