Tractor trailers deliver goods all over the country every day of the week. Their drivers often work brutal hours and travel great distances, all while dealing with the pressure of tight deadlines—and in some cases, while carrying hazardous cargo. The combination of these factors creates a potent mix that can lead to serious—even fatal— truck collisions.
Because of tractor trailers’ massive size and weight, when they get into a collision, it is often horrific in nature: and more often than not, it’s not the truck driver who suffers. When involved in fatal truck accidents, the truck driver survives over 86 percent of the time. There are a variety of factors at play, but the biggest reason is that huge trucks offer a great deal of protection to their drivers; for the other vehicle involved, however, that size dramatically increases the chance of fatalities. According to a 2008 federal report, 8 percent of all motor vehicle fatalities involve large trucks, while those same trucks make up only 2 percent of motor vehicle injuries. The most common scenario in these types of crashes is a truck jackknifing due to equipment failure, improper braking, or adverse road conditions.
Reasons for Truck Collisions
- Vehicle malfunction. The biggest culprit in this category is defective brakes. A 2006 federal study showed that deficient or poorly adjusted brakes were a factor in 29.4 percent of all fatal truck crashes, and that about 19 percent of all inspected commercial vehicles were found to have brake defects. Other causes include light/marker/signal malfunctions, lack of proper tire pressure, and suspension problems.
- Driver speeding, often to meet a deadline.
- Driver fatigue.
- Driver inexperience.
- Driver inattention, often due to eating or talking. This is one factor that leads to the single biggest cause of truck fatalities: the failure of the driver to stay in the proper lane.
- Unsafe driving given inclement weather conditions.
- Overloading of cargo
Although truck driver training is rigorous, if a commercial trucking company is facing tight deadlines, they may put drivers on the road after incomplete or inadequate training. In addition, one of the agreements in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) makes it easier for Mexican truck drivers, whose training is less intense than that of their American counterparts, to work in this country.
Though there are always multiple factors contributing to any car accident, when a truck is involved, the stakes are immediately raised. Not only does the size and weight of the truck increase the chance of serious personal injury, a truck’s cargo can create health problems as well. Overturned trucks carrying hazardous waste, flammable liquids, or other toxic materials can put you in immediate danger, even if you are not personally involved in the accident.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident in the Mobile, Alabama or Pensacola, Florida area, then please contact the experienced lawyers at Taylor Martin, P.C. for a free evaluation.