We have all seen large semi-trucks and other commercial vehicles around town and on the highways. We know to give these vehicles extra room because of their size and weight. These drivers cannot maneuver quickly or stop on a dime. But it is because of this and other factors that trucks and commercial vehicles cause accidents on Georgia roads. In 2014, there were 3,744 large trucks involved in fatal accidents in the U.S. and 88,000 large trucks involved in crashes that caused injuries, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Tens of thousands of people are affected by trucking accidents every year. If you were one of them, call the Atlanta auto accident lawyers of Ted A. Greve & Associates, P.A. to learn more about what may have caused your accident and who may be held responsible.
Frequent Causes of Trucking Accidents Include:
- Driver Error: One of the most common reasons for a truck-related crash is truck driver error. The specific error can range from not watching the road to being distracted by food or a phone. Drivers may simply not handle a situation in the best way possible. Whatever the bottom-line cause of the accident, it may be because the driver made a mistake or was negligent. Now whether you file suit against the driver personally or his or her employer depends on a number of factors. You should speak with an experienced trucking accident attorney to determine if the business is liable for negligent hiring or retention.
- Driver Fatigue: Drowsy driving may not be as large of a problem as people assume, but it still contributes to many crashes. Truck drivers must follow strict hours of service rules set down by the FMCSA. They can only drive for a certain number of hours before they must stop and rest for a minimum period of time. However, if drivers are tired despite the time limits for driving, their ability to drive safely may be impaired. People who are overly tired do not perceive hazards as quickly as people who are alert. They may not be on the lookout for danger. Tired drivers may not be able to determine the best way to avoid a crash. There is also the risk of drowsy drivers falling asleep behind the wheel. Then a truck that can weigh up to 80,000 pounds is uncontrolled on the road, leading to injuries and fatalities.
- Speeding and Other Moving Violations: Speeding and disobeying the rules of the road increases the risk of an accident for any type of driver. However, it is particularly dangerous for large and cumbersome semi-trucks or other commercial vehicles. Because of the truck’s weight, by going faster it will have a more difficult time stopping. Even if the driver notices a hazard up ahead, he or she may not be able to get out of the way or stop the truck in time to avoid a collision because he or she was going faster than the posted speed limit. The speed limit and other rules of the road are in place for a reason – to increase safety. Breaking these rules could be a breach of the driver’s duty of care to other motorists on the road.
- Improper Training: Not just anyone can hop into the driver’s seat of a big rig. It requires a specific commercial driver’s license that is obtained through a written and driver’s skills test. Drivers also need specific endorsements to drive different types of trucks or materials, such as hazardous and flammable substances. Drivers who do not have the proper license, endorsements, or additional training for the vehicle and cargo they are required to drive are more likely to cause an accident than a well-trained professional driver.
- Equipment Failures and Defects: Even when the trucker does everything right, something can go wrong with the truck. Common equipment failures include brake failure and blown tires. When brakes fail, there may be a case of a runaway truck. Even there is any type of decline in the road, it can take the driver miles to come to a complete stop without brakes. Tire blowouts can also occur suddenly and make it difficult for the driver to control the rig. If an equipment failure is what led to your accident, you and your attorney will need to look into the driver’s and company’s maintenance records. You may also need to look into whether the part was defective.
- Bad Weather: Weather is not often a factor in truck crashes, but it certainly influences how a trucker drives and handles the vehicle on the road. When the weather is poor, it can create dangerous roads and poor visibility. These two factors increase the risk of an accident. For states or areas that get a lot of rain, snow, or ice, experienced and well-trained drivers are necessary.
- Overloading: The FMCSA imposes weight limits on different types of trailers. A company cannot simply load as much as possible onto a truck. If it does, it violates state and federal regulations and significantly increases the risk of an accident. The heavier the truck, the longer it takes to stop, the greater the likelihood it will rollover on a turn. If the load is not properly balanced, it makes the vehicle difficult to maneuver, even for simple lane changes. It also increases the risk of an axle breaking or blowing a tire.
- Driving Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol: It is possible the driver is guilty of something more serious than driving while tired or becoming distracted. Truckers may get into their cabs after having a drink or two, which leads them to driving while impaired. CDL drivers are held to a higher standard and can be charged with a DUI for driving with a BAC at or over 0.04 percent.
An Atlanta Auto Accident Lawyer Can Help
If you were in an accident with a truck and you are experiencing serious physical and emotional consequences, do not hesitate to seek legal counsel. By working with the dedicated Atlanta car crash attorneys at Ted A. Greve & Associates, P.A. right away, you can investigate your truck accident before any of the evidence is destroyed. Your lawyer will also understand how to use the discovery process to determine what happened in your situation and find evidence against the party at fault.
Call or contact Ted A. Greve & Associates, P.A. online today for a free consultation.