Trucking Accidents: A Matter of Size and Negligence
While any motor vehicle accident can be frightening, a collision with a large commercial freight truck is among the most terrifying a driver can experience. What makes trucking accidents so deadly and frightening?
A fully-loaded large truck can weigh more than 80,000 pounds while a typical passenger vehicle may weigh only around 3,000 pounds. Such accidents are unfortunately very common on Texas roads. But, it’s not just the size of the vehicle that makes them so dangerous. Trucking accidents are caused by:
- Distracted driving. Like any driver, a truck driver can easily become distracted by cell phones, eating or other distractions. This may lead to a crash for which the driver can be found negligent.
- Poor training, including failure to train drivers on appropriate defensive driving tactics and safe handling of their vehicles. Just like normal drivers, there are myriad ways a truck driver may fail to operate their equipment safely from taking a turn too fast to failing to brake properly or driving recklessly during poor weather conditions or in construction zones, all of which may mean a driver can be found negligent in an accident.
- Compensation systems that encourage truck drivers to speed to meet deadlines. The commercial trucking industry pays its drivers by the mile vs. by the hour. Because they are paid not for hours worked but for miles logged, there’s an incentive in the industry to log more and more miles, potentially putting the drivers themselves and others on the road at risk.
- Unrealistic schedules for truck drivers that leave inadequate time for sleep and contribute to driver fatigue. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration limits the time truck drivers may drive to 11 hours at a stretch to help them avoid fatigue. A driver who is found to have violated the drive time limits and the company they work for could be found negligent.
- Drug and alcohol use. A truck driver who causes a crash and is found to have been impaired by drugs or alcohol may also be found negligent (in addition to being charged with a criminal offense).
- Improper maintenance. Truck drivers are not paid for time they are not driving, so it’s possible for a truck driver or company to take shortcuts on routine maintenance issues leading to equipment failure.
Sadly, most deaths in large truck crashes are passenger vehicle occupants because of their vulnerability compared with that of an occupant of an enormous commercial 18-wheeler. Crash victims may also be profoundly injured in truck collisions.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a truck-related accident, you need an experienced attorney to help you handle your claim. Chad West, PLLC is experienced in handling high stakes litigation and complex cases, including truck accidents. Our attentive and dedicated practice has secured more than $200 million in cumulative damages for a range of clients. Call us to review your case and help you determine if you should pursue damages for your pain and injuries.