According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there were 181,911 accidents involving semi trucks and buses in 2019. It's interesting to note that this number dropped to 155,090 in 2020, due to the pandemic. Regardless, that's a lot of accidents involving semi trucks and buses.
If you've been involved in an accident with a semi truck or you spend a lot of time driving on the roadways and highways with them, here are common causes of semi truck accidents and how hiring a lawyer can help.
Tires are the only part of vehicles that meet the road, so they are crucially important to everyone on the roadways. You may have seen large pieces and fragments of the remnants of a blown tire on the highways. Imagine the tire of a semi truck blowing right in front of you and the pieces of rubber getting thrown into your windshield.
Tires can fail due to several reasons, including road hazards, defective tires, and overloaded trucks. If the accident you've been involved in was caused by a tire failure in a semi truck, hire a lawyer to help you determine just who it is you should sue for compensation for your losses and injuries. Here are a few examples:
Road hazards: Was something sharp in the road that the driver could've avoided driving over? Did they handle the vehicle properly after tire failure?
Defective tires: Have other trucks suffered tire failures with the same tires or the same manufacturer of the tires? Were the tires properly stored by the distributor prior to installation? Did the mechanic install the tires properly?
Overloading: Was the trailer overloaded with cargo, causing too much weight to be on the tires? Who was in charge of loading the cargo?
Overloaded or Improper Cargo Loading
Speaking of overloaded cargo causing tire failure, overloaded or improper cargo loading can cause accidents as well. If the cargo is improperly loaded with more weight on one side than the other, or with more weight in the back than in the middle or front, the driver will likely be unable to keep control of the trailer, particularly when braking and turning.
Now imagine if the driver needs to make a sudden movement to avoid an accident ahead and the trailer is either too overloaded, improperly loaded, or both. A lawyer who handles semi truck accidents can determine which entities you can sue for damages and injuries, such as the driver, the company they work for, the people who loaded the cargo, and the place they work for.
Fatigue or Sleep Deprivation
Fatigue and sleep deprivation are also common causes of semi truck accidents. Truck drivers are mandated to follow specific laws regarding how many hours they can drive and how many hours they cannot. For example, they can drive 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours of not driving but can only drive 10 hours after 8 consecutive hours off. Also, they are required to take a 30-minute break from driving after driving 8 cumulative hours. They are required by law to keep a detailed log of their on and off driving hours.
Most people are unaware of just how physically demanding it can be to sit in a semi truck and drive it for that many hours. If you personally know any truck drivers, you may have heard them moan and complain about their back aching or their shoulders hurting. Being in constant pain may have resulted in the truck driver taking medication that could have affected their driving capabilities or their reaction time. Perhaps their physician prescribed them a medication that had the disclaimer to not operate vehicles, yet they did so anyway. In this case, the driver obviously would be at fault.
For more info, contact a truck accident lawyer.