The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that close to 450,000 truck accidents occur across the country every year. The average commercial big-rig weighs around 80,000 pounds and has the power and force to cause devastating damage to people and property in a crash. When these wrecks are fatal, the victims are often the passengers in other vehicles. Knowing more about the common causes of truck accidents can help the millions of commercial drivers in the United States avoid them and protect the lives of themselves and other drivers and pedestrians around them.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
- Unsafe driving: Careless or aggressive behaviors, including speeding, tailgating, and distracted driving are to blame for many serious truck accidents. Yet, it is not always the truck drivers who are at-fault for these crashes. Drivers in passenger vehicles may cut in front of trucks, disregarding the space and time trucks need to slow or stop. This action is responsible for many accidents.
- Equipment failure: Poorly-maintained commercial tractor-trailers are another leading cause of truck accidents. Trucking operators are responsible for ensuring trucks are always in good working order. If they fail to do so and a crash occurs as a result, they may be held responsible. Truck equipment manufacturers may be liable for defective equipment failures as well.
- Fatigue: Truck drivers are required to spend long hours on the road without enough rest. Many companies offer incentives for drivers who meet tight deadlines, causing many to forego much-needed rest breaks. Research shows that drowsy driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving. Much like alcohol, fatigue slows reaction time and impairs decision making, increasing the risk of a crash.
- Poor weather or road conditions: Even with proper training and safe driving habits, operating an enormous tractor-trailer is a challenging task. Add poor weather or road conditions and that job becomes even more difficult. Potholes, construction, ice, and snow all increase the risk of a serious truck crash.
- Improper training: The United States Department of Transportation maintains strict regulations for the training and testing of commercial truck drivers. Drivers who do not meet these standards are not adequately prepared to safely operate a vehicle weighing upwards of several thousand pounds. Trucking companies who do not provide adequate training can be held responsible when those deficiencies lead to a wreck.
- Overloading: Trucks are essential for transporting goods from one part of the country to another. Properly securing these loads is crucial for preventing overloading accidents or wrecks caused by airborne cargo. Loads that are too heavy can cause tire blowouts or tip-over accidents. Loose goods or equipment can fly off a truck and collide with nearby cars, passengers, and pedestrians.
Liability and Truck Accidents
Determining liability for serious and fatal truck wrecks is a complex process. Several parties can be held responsible for an accident, including the truck driver, the truck owner, the individual or company who leased the truck from the owner, the company that manufactured a defective truck part, or the truck loader or shipper. Establishing exactly what went wrong to cause a wreck is the first step to assigning responsibility. An experienced Virginia truck accident lawyer reviews every detail to determine how the wreck occurred and where fault may lie.
Our Virginia Beach Truck Accident Lawyers Help Victims of Truck Accidents Claim Compensation They Deserve
If you were involved in a truck accident, our Virginia Beach truck accident lawyers can help. At East Coast Trial Lawyers, we will fight for the compensation you deserve for pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages, and emotional trauma resulting from a serious crash. To schedule a free consultation today, call 757-352-2237 or contact us online. Located in Virginia Beach, Virginia, we represent clients from the surrounding areas, including Chesapeake, Eastern Shores, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk.