When you think about road accidents, you may think of cars getting into accidents with other cars. Your first thought might not be, I could easily get hit by a commercial truck. However, every year, approximately 500,000 trucking accidents occur in the United States. 5,000 of these will most likely end in fatalities, according to the statistics released by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Knowing these numbers, you can see exactly how much of a concern this is and how it puts things into perspective.
The biggest problem is the fact that many of these accidents are stemming from complete negligence, according to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA). Commercial truck drivers owe a standard duty of care to those whom they are sharing the roadways with. This includes keeping a proper lookout for each other, complying with applicable traffic laws, and using all reasonable means necessary to avoid an accident. The fact of the matter is that many of the regulations put in place for these drivers are being abused on a state and federal level.
Why are These Trucks So Dangerous to Other Drivers?
Let’s face it – large commercial trucks are one of the biggest things sharing the roadways with smaller vehicles. To give you an example, let’s look at the numbers. A fully loaded large commercial truck can weigh an outstanding 80,000 pounds or more, while your average passenger automobile will only weigh approximately 3,000 pounds. This means that any collision that takes place between the two is likely to result in very serious injuries. Some will even lead to fatalities, as you may have heard.
There are many common factors that lead to collisions between the two, which is why knowledge is safety. These types of truck accidents are usually a combination of a typical commercial truck’s characteristics and performance capabilities (acceleration, braking, and visibility) and a passenger car driver’s ignorance of characteristics. Commercial trucks also tend to have much larger blind spots and are usually unable to respond to certain hazards.
What Regulations are Put on Commercial Truck Drivers?
Because of the statistics and because commercial vehicles can be so dangerous and even deadly on roadways, regulations are put in place to lessen the chance that these accidents will happen. When somebody wants to obtain a CDL license, for instance, the driver is required to pass a series of tests designed solely for commercial truck drivers. These include:
- Maneuvering, parking, backing tests
- Maintenance of engines, lights, tires
- Pre-trip inspection routine mastery
- Hazardous materials containment regulations and procedure
There are many different problems that arise from trucking accidents, making them more expensive, complicated, and difficult than a passenger car collision. There are some unique aspects involved in trucking accidents, which include:
- Jackknifing: When this occurs, the driver typically does not have time to react until it is too late. If there was a party responsible for disabling the front brakes, they could be partially responsible for damages in an accident.
- Fuel Fires: Perhaps the truck’s diesel fuel came in contact with battery spark. This is why the battery should be protected from being crushed in an accident.
- Rollovers: These are one of the major causes of fatalities and injuries in trucking accidents. The factors include driver error, taking a curve too fast, speeding, fatigue, inexperience or DUI.
- Braking: Brake malfunction can occur at any time. The cause of the malfunction can be pinned on many parties.
So, what happens if you have become involved in a trucking accident? Truck accidents can be extremely serious and deadly in certain situations. You may hear about accidents stemming from commercial trucks a lot on the local news. The fact of the matter is that, each year, many Americans will die due to these accidents and safety precautions will sometimes help keep the numbers down. If you have been involved in an accident, you can call an attorney that you trust. Call Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi to speak to an attorney who will fight for your rights.