Some of the most dangerous accidents that occur on roads are caused by huge commercial tractor-trailers and trucks. Other years, states have put measures in place to prevent commercial truck accidents. However, truck accidents continue to happen on a daily basis in Massachusetts and throughout the country. Large commercial trucks present unique dangers to passenger vehicles. Truck drivers are often under extreme time pressure. Unfortunately, because of the large size of trucks, when truck drivers make a mistake, those mistakes can result in multiple severe injuries or even death. Below, we will discuss the five most common causes of truck accidents.
As with passenger drivers, commercial truck drivers are often distracted by technology. Truck drivers are required to drive for long hours. They may get bored while they are on the road, and they often look to technological devices to keep them entertained. Truck drivers may look at their cell phones, iPads, or other electronic devices while driving.
Or, they may spend too long looking down to adjust their GPS devices or send a text. Text messaging is a common cause of dangerous driver distraction. It only takes looking at a text message for five seconds for a truck to drive nearly the length of a football field. In that time, a commercial truck can collide with several other vehicles.
Bad Maneuvering Decisions
One bad maneuver from a commercial truck driver can cause a devastating accident. One type of bad maneuvering involves making a quick lane switch. A semi-truck has extremely large blind spots on both of their sides. Truck drivers have a duty of reasonable care to signal any intention to change lanes and to change lanes gradually. When a truck driver abruptly changes lanes, they can completely run over a small passenger vehicle.
In other cases, trucks try to maneuver quickly in severely bad weather, or in tight spots like parking lots. When a commercial truck driver makes a U-turn without making sure that the road is clear, it can result in a devastating accident. Finally, truck drivers may rush through yellow lights to cross through the intersection before the lights turn red. Instead, truck drivers should try to come to a stop at yellow lights whenever possible in order to avoid collisions.
Intoxicated or Drowsy Driving
Intoxicating driving is another common cause of commercial truck accidents. Drunk truck drivers are essentially driving dangerous weapons that could slam into other vehicles, buildings, or people on the roads. When drunk drivers collide into other cars, they can swerve perpendicularly into the highway, causing a multiple-vehicle pile-up.
Sleep deprivation is one of the most common causes of truck accidents on American roadways. Drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as intoxicated driving. Experts who have studied drowsy driving have found that it is often similar to intoxicated or drugged driving in terms of impairment of a driver’s abilities. When an individual has been awake for 17 hours or more, they could show the same type of driving errors as people who have been intoxicated.
Truck drivers are highly susceptible to sleep deprivation. They are under extreme time pressure to finish jobs and begin new jobs, as truck drivers only get paid when they successfully complete a job. While there are federal and state laws that require truck drivers to stop and take breaks, many do not and continue pushing through to their next destination. Fatigued drivers have poorer response times and they are more likely to swerve off of the road or slam into another car.
Vehicle Malfunctions or Maintenance Problems
Commercial truck operations have a duty to ensure that their trucks are well-maintained. Even a single worn-out tire that blows out on the highway can cause a dangerous truck accident. When truck drivers and their employers fail to adequately maintain their trucks, they are liable for the damage that occurs. In some cases, a manufacturer of a truck or a commercial truck part manufacturer can produce a defective product. When the defective product causes the truck accident that results in injuries, the victim may have a right to bring a lawsuit for compensation.
Negligent or Reckless Driving
Finally, negligent or reckless driving is the cause of many commercial vehicle accidents. For example, a truck driver could speed down the highway, not noticing that the speed keeps creeping up. Should the truck driver’s speed prevent him or her from being able to stop and avoid a collision on time, the victims of the accident could bring a negligence action. Other examples of negligent driving include overcorrecting or failing to check the blind spots of the truck.
According to the Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS), researchers discovered that the leading cause of large commercial tractor-trailer accidents was driver error. Researchers determined that the most common driver errors that caused the most collisions involved bad maneuvering decisions, including turning too sharply or traveling too fast under the circumstances.
In some cases, the trucking company is at fault for failing to properly train its employees. Truck driving companies must ensure that they hire drivers who have a valid commercial truck driving license. They should also conduct background checks to ensure that they do not hire a truck driver who has a record of traffic accidents or a criminal background that could indicate they cannot drive safely. Trucking companies also have a duty to comply with all of the guidelines set forth by federal and local governments. When truck driving companies fail to use reasonable care in hiring and employee management, and that breach of their duty causes a truck accident, they are liable for the injuries caused by the accident.
Contact Our Experienced Lawyers as Soon as Possible
If you or your loved one have suffered a serious injury in a truck accident, hiring a lawyer as soon as possible is extremely important. At the Law Office of John J. Sheehan, we have helped many clients successfully recover compensation after a severe car accident. Contact our personal injury lawsuit today to schedule your initial consultation.