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Understanding truck accidents

On Behalf of | Apr 10, 2024 | Car Accidents

red semi truck on highway

Semi-trucks, also known as big rigs or tractor-trailers, are a significant concern on roads and highways. According to the National Safety Council, in 2021, 5,700 large trucks were involved in a fatal crash, an 18% increase from 2020 and a 49% increase in the last ten years. The trucking industry is heavily regulated in the United States. Truckers must obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL), abide by strict laws governing hours of service, maintenance, and safety equipment. Violations of these laws can contribute to trucking accidents.

What are the main causes of trucking accidents?

  1. Driver Fatigue: One of the most common causes of trucking accidents is driver fatigue. Truck drivers drive long hours, leading to increased fatigue and drowsiness. To mitigate this risk, mandatory hours-of-service regulations are in place which cap the total time a driver can be behind-the-wheel without a break.
  2. Weather Conditions: Inclement weather, such as rain, snow, ice, fog, and wind can make driving dangerous. Wind can cause the trailer to sway, posing a risk to other drivers.
  3. Speeding: Semi trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, making it imperative that truck drivers operate their trucks in accordance with the speed limit. Excessive speed reduces the truck driver’s ability to react because trucks need longer distances to stop.
  4. Impaired Driving: Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a significant cause of trucking accidents. Any alcohol or other substances can impair a driver’s reflexes.
  5. Mechanical or Equipment Failure: Trucking accidents can also occur due to faulty brakes, tire blowouts, and lack of safety equipment. Truck drivers also must abide by cargo weight restrictions as failure to do so can lead to increased accidents when turning or braking.

Accidents involving large trucks can lead to devastating consequences. These are some of the many causes that contribute to trucking accidents.

Drivers and industry professionals must strictly adhere to regulations as it is essential to highway and driver safety.

What parties might be at fault in a truck accident?

When a trucking accident occurs, multiple parties may share responsibility for the incident.

  1. The Truck Driver:
    • The truck driver is often the primary party at fault when a trucking accident occurs. Their actions, negligence, or errors behind the wheel can directly cause an accident to occur.
  2. The Trucking Company:
    • The trucking company that employs or contracts the driver may also be liable for a truck accident. If they hired an unqualified driver, failed to maintain the truck, or enforce safety regulations, they may be liable.
  3. Third-Party Contractors:
    • Third-party contracts may also be liable. They could be liable for improperly securing cargo, negligent maintenance on a truck, or any other contracted work that contributes to the trucking accident.
  4. Other Drivers:
    • If other drivers caused or contributed to the accident, they could also be liable. These actions can include reckless driving, defects or malfunctions in their vehicle, or any other negligence on behalf of the driver.

Understanding which entities could be held accountable is vital to ensuring you receive the full and rightful compensation you are entitled to.

Seek Help After an Accident

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, we recommend you contact us here at Harris, Powers & Cunningham PLLC to discuss your legal options. Our lawyers may be able to help you get the compensation you need to recover after being injured.  We provide a no-obligation, free initial consultation. Call 602-910-6779 or send us an e-mail to request your consultation.