Trucking Accidents: Why And How Do They Happen?
Car accidents can be dangerous and deadly enough. But what happens when the accident involves a large, commercial truck, such as an 18-wheeler? How do these accidents happen, and can they be avoided?
There are a lot of reasons why trucking accidents happen—some of them are common roadway accidents, and others are unique to the nature of the truck and the trucking industry itself.
Unfortunately, the push for profits often leads commercial trucking companies to push the limits of safety. For example, there are federal rules that limit how long a driver can be on the roadway before the driver must be given a break or an overnight rest. Trucking companies are required to log and report their on-road hours (which is often done electronically with in-truck monitors).
However, companies—or even the truckers themselves, anxious to get the job done—may push these limits, leading to fatigue on the road.
If they can’t keep a driver on the road for too long, many companies go with another option: increase the payload, or weight, that the truck is carrying. However, heavy loads in trucks can lead to imbalance, and an inability to control the truck in bad weather, on hills, in turns, or in inclement weather.
If you are in an accident with a truck, one of the first things your lawyer will look at are the readings of the electronic monitors, and any logs kept by the trucking company or the trucker. This will help determine how long the driver was on the road and the load that the truck was carrying.
Other Errors Trucking Companies Make
But a trucking company doesn’t have to actually break the law to be negligent.
For example, many companies hire inexperienced drivers (especially in times when labor is hard to find). Many companies don’t account for drivers’ own conditions, such as medical conditions that may make it unsafe for the driver to be on the road for extended periods of time.
There is a technique to driving a truck that is different than driving a car. Drivers have to account for the load that their truck is carrying. The width of the truck means that navigating right turns, which are tighter than left turns, must be done in a specific way (usually, by swinging out a bit before entering the right turn).
Problems With the Trucks
There can also be defects in the truck itself; trucks need constant repair and maintenance, given the miles they drive, and the loads that they carry. Many companies don’t service trucks the way that they should be serviced. Breaks can easily fail, or other mechanical problems can lead to the truck causing an accident.
If the trucking company failed to maintain the vehicle, they can be held liable. If they did maintain the vehicle, but a part in the car malfunctioned, there could be cause for a products liability claim against the manufacturer of the failed part.
If you were in an accident, our Boston truck accident attorneys at The Law Office of Joseph Linnehan, Jr. can help. Call us today at 617-275-4200 for help with your personal injury case.