Commercial trucks can present unique dangers to the occupants of smaller vehicles on the road, especially when drivers are negligent, trucks are poorly maintained, and trucking companies fail to follow safety regulations. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 3,986 people died in large truck crashes in 2016 alone. Of those deaths, 17% were occupants of a large truck, while 66% occupied a smaller vehicle. The rest were pedestrians, bicyclists, or motorcyclists. Most truck accidents are preventable if the proper care is taken. Common causes of truck accidents include:
Truck Driver Error
The majority of truck accidents are caused by truck driver error. Situations like distracted driving, driver fatigue, and impaired driving can all lead to truck drivers making unsafe decisions. Truck drivers who speed, make unsafe lane changes, and fail to check blind spots can cause serious life-altering collisions.
Smaller Vehicle Driver Error
Drivers of passenger vehicles are sometimes to blame for an accident with a truck. Common errors made by smaller vehicle drivers include:
- Driving in a truck’s blind spot
- Following too closely
- Changing lanes abruptly in front of a truck
- Failure to slow down or speed up when a truck is changing lanes
Improper Cargo Loading
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has specific rules regarding cargo securement. These rules are in place to prevent cargo from shifting in the truck or falling off the vehicle. Improper cargo loading can cause major accidents, especially if the cargo involved contains hazardous materials.
Truck drivers should be trained to drive in any type of weather, but sometimes weather conditions play a factor in accidents. Conditions such as rain, fog, high winds, snow, and ice can all make driving more dangerous. It is ultimately the driver’s responsibility to adjust his or her driving behaviors accordingly.
Improper Truck Maintenance
Sometimes it doesn’t matter how safe a truck is driven if it has not been properly maintained by the owner and the trucking company. Improper truck maintenance can lead to problems with braking systems, lights, tires, and other components. Federal and state regulations govern the maintenance of trucks, and if a trucking company fails to comply with these standards and an accident occurs, that company may be held liable.
Contact a Trusted Attorney
If you’ve been seriously injured in an accident with a truck, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. Contact the trusted lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk online or call us at 1-800-753-5203 to schedule your free consultation.