Commercial truck accidents are responsible for a high number of injuries and deaths, as motor vehicle crashes involving these commercial vehicles are often catastrophic.
Unfortunately, truck accident injuries can be devastating and change people's lives forever. Additionally, in the worst-case scenario, a loved one may die from these fatal crashes.
However, in Indiana and other states, truck drivers must comply with strict regulations to avoid accidents with passenger cars and protect the safety of other people on the road. The biggest problem is that many fail to obey these rules.
People injured in one of these accidents can seek help from a professional semi accident attorney and fight for their rights to recover compensation for the damages those irresponsible and negligent drivers cause.
The Latest Stats About Truck Accidents
According to the latest reports from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 5,788 people died in crashes involving large trucks. This represents a 17% increase from the figures recorded in 2020. That year, 4,945 individuals lost their lives in similar accidents.
The NHTSA also reported that 72% of people who died in large-truck accidents in 2021 were occupants of another vehicle.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), most deaths related to large-truck collisions are occupants of passenger vehicles because people traveling in smaller vehicles are more vulnerable to these accidents.
These figures show that many trucking companies are failing to protect people's integrity by setting and complying with comprehensive safety policies. As a result, many people often suffer serious injuries in truck accidents.
However, those who have sustained truck accident injuries can hire an experienced personal injury attorney to hold at-fault truck drivers or companies accountable for their negligence. They can also advise on questions such as Do truck drivers get fired for accidents?
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Besides the complexity of the process, many other factors make operating commercial motor vehicles, including trucks, challenging. This contributes greatly to the likelihood of accidents. When negligence is added to the equation, the risk is even higher.
In this sense, these are the most common causes of accidents involving trucks:
Since truck drivers must work long hours, they need regular breaks and should get enough sleep before and after each workday. Otherwise, they may fall asleep while behind the wheel or briefly lose consciousness and cause accidents.
The Hours of Service (HOS) governmental regulations define the number of hours that truck drivers are permitted to be on duty. Trucking companies and independent operators must follow these rules to avoid collisions and the resulting legal implications. However, many are negligent and fail to do so.
Many truck accidents are caused by drivers who take their eyes off the road or get distracted while texting and using their cell phones. These incidents affect many passenger car drivers each year, causing thousands of dollars in losses and multiple deaths.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations dictate that the legal blood alcohol concentration (BCA) for drivers licensed to operate commercial trucks is 0.04%.
Additionally, no truck drivers are allowed to consume alcohol while on duty or four hours before operating these vehicles. However, many don't follow these rules and end up causing accidents where other drivers are injured.
In truck accident cases involving intoxicated driving, both the trucking company and the driver may face harsh penalties, including license suspension, fines, and prison sentences.
Many truck accidents are caused by brake failure. However, they're avoidable in most cases. The FMCSA has also set rules to prevent these incidents, dictating that companies and truckers must inspect, maintain, and repair brakes regularly.
Truck drivers are legally required to operate these vehicles safely to avoid harming others. If they act recklessly, operators can cause accidents and injure other drivers, passenger vehicle occupants, and pedestrians. Unfortunately, it's still a common cause of these incidents.
Poor Vehicle Maintenance
Trucking companies and drivers must also perform regular maintenance to ensure these vehicles are in optimal condition according to safety standards. That means they should repair broken parts and fix other issues that may affect trucks' operation.
However, many drivers and companies fail to perform regular maintenance, which means that many risks aren't addressed before the commercial vehicle is back on the road. Consequently, multiple accidents occur and cause catastrophic injuries.
Poor Cargo Loading
According to federal laws, trucks can only carry specific weights, and the cargo must be properly loaded and secured to avoid accidents. When companies and drivers fail to comply with these regulations, these vehicles can cause crashes and other fatal incidents.
Road Hazards and Weather Conditions
Many of these accidents aren't caused by negligence or recklessness but by external factors, such as weather conditions. Rain, ice, snow, fog, and smoke can contribute to this.
In most truck accidents caused by inclement weather, drivers jackknife and sideswipe, driving into oncoming traffic, while trying to avoid a slide. Many crashes are also caused by reduced or poor visibility.
However, there could be other hazards on the road, such as poor signs or potholes. These are common causes of accidents, as they can cause these trucks to roll over, swerve, or skid.
Inappropriate or Negligent Hiring and Training of a Truck Driver
Truck drivers must be qualified and licensed to operate these vehicles. Additionally, they must be properly trained and undergo tests.
Trucking companies are legally required to conduct due diligence to determine if applicants fit the role and ensure they have sufficient experience to avoid accidents.
When these companies are negligent when hiring or training a driver, the risk of accidents is high since the lack of experience can lead to crashes and similar incidents.
What Can a Lawyer Do for Victims?
If truck drivers meet safety standards, they can avoid causing an accident and injuring other people on the road. Therefore, those who have been harmed in an incident caused by a truck driver's negligence can seek help from an experienced attorney.
A seasoned truck accident attorney can help victims fight for their rights and hold at-fault parties accountable for their actions. Plus, they can offer guidance through the legal process, collect evidence, and build solid cases to recover compensation for victims.
Contact Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys Today!
At Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys, we have extensive experience handling truck accident cases and helping victims get the justice they deserve. Our lawyers understand that different factors can cause these incidents, but we know that they can be avoidable. Therefore, we're willing to help victims build their cases and fight for their legal rights. Contact us today!