Common Causes of Semi-Truck Accidents
January 30, 2019
Semi-trucks are among the largest and heaviest vehicles on the road. A fully loaded tractor-trailer can weigh as much as 80,000 lbs. and measure over 65 feet long. This is 20-30 times the weight of the average passenger vehicle. When a semi-truck is traveling at highway speeds, even a small driving error can have disastrous results. This is why you need qualified semi-truck accident lawyers if you are injured in a truck-related crash.
What Is a Semi-Truck?
A semi-truck refers to the actual truck, which contains the engine. A semi-truck is used to haul a semi-trailer, which contains the cargo being transported. When the two are attached, the semi-truck supports much of the trailer’s weight.
Tractor-trailer and 18-wheeler are other names for the combination of a semi-truck and semi-trailer.
Semi-Truck Crash Statistics
A total of 4,102 people died in large truck crashes in 2017 across the U.S. Of these, 17% were truck occupants and 68% were occupants of passenger vehicles. From this same statistic 14% were pedestrians, bicyclists or motorcyclists.
Over the last 10 years, accidents involving semi-trucks have increased more than 30%, including fatal crashes. Notably, 97% of those killed in two-vehicle semi-truck accidents were riding in passenger cars.
Common Causes of Semi-Truck Accidents
Here are some of the most common causes of semi-truck accidents:
The most careful driver can be the victim of faulty equipment. Because large trucks are harder to maneuver and avoid, even a malfunctioning turn signal can cause an accident. Defective brakes can be catastrophic.
When this happens, one or more individuals or companies may be liable. Responsibility could fall to the manufacturer, the installer, a mechanic or the trucking company. This is why hiring experienced semi-truck accident lawyers is so important.
Truck Driver Error
As stated before, even a small mistake can be deadly when semi-trucks are involved. Here are some common driver errors our semi-truck accident lawyers have seen that can lead to accidents :
- Failure to follow safety guidelines
- Driver fatigue
- Improper loading of cargo, including overloading
- Failure to secure cargo
- Use of alcohol or drugs prior to or while driving
- Distracted driving
Operating a commercial truck requires specialized licensing and training. This should include training drivers to handle hazardous road conditions and other emergencies. Because other motorists are unpredictable, training should also include how to drive defensively.
Many semi-trucks have large blind spots in the rear, on both sides and even in front of the cab. The rear blind spot can be as deep as 200 feet. On the sides, it can extend past the end of the trailer. In front, it may exceed 20 feet.
Dangerous Trucking Company Policies
Safety concerns sometimes collide with profitability. Here are some of the ways trucking companies may contribute to the risk of accidents:
- Unrealistic schedules and expectations that cause drivers to rush loading and other procedures
- Bad working conditions that lead to excessive stress
- Fatigue caused by unreasonable deadlines
- Economic pressure to violate safety regulations regarding adequate rest between trips
Our semi-truck accident lawyers have seen the outcomes of these accidents and are prepared to fight for you and your family.
“Semi-truck accidents can be some of the most dangerous crashes,” says Mark Bernstein of The Sam Bernstein Law Firm, “call us immediately if you or a loved one has been injured in an accident. Our knowledgeable semi-truck accident lawyers will make sure you get the compensation you deserve.”
Michigan traffic laws are complicated, but finding the right lawyer is simple.
Call 1-800-CALL-SAM today for a free no-obligation consultation.