Because of their extreme weight and massive size, large truck accidents tend to cause more fatalities than any other type of vehicle accident. Approximately 12 percent of all accidents are caused by large trucks. These trucks are also referred to as semis, tractor-trailers, and transfer trucks. There are many contributing factors to large truck accidents. Driver fatigue, for example, has been a long standing issue in the trucking industry. Criticism has been voiced against the lack of training regulations throughout the country, and trucking companies have been investigated for not complying with maintenance standards.
Large truck accidents take thousands of lives every year. If you have been injured in an accident involving a large truck, the various players involved (owner, driver, trucking company, and parts manufacturers) can be confusing and overwhelming. Following are some of the common causes of trucking accidents.
The most common cause of trucking accidents is driver error. Truck drivers are required to cover a certain distance over a certain period of time. More often than not, these expectations are unreasonable. Long hours on the road in solitude encourage driver fatigue. To battle this fatigue, many truck drivers turn to drugs. While stimulants like cocaine and amphetamines give drivers energy, side effects create serious risks. Dizziness, tremors, blurred vision, and confusion are only a few possible reactions to these stimulants. Side effects may escalate to visual and auditory hallucinations, creating a highly dangerous potential for collision.
Large Truck Training
Another issue facing the trucking industry is the lack of proper training available to newly employed truckers. If a truck’s gross weight is over 10,000 pounds it is considered a ‘large truck.’ To ensure proper safety, a certain understanding of physics should be required. Balancing loaded weight and operating a truck this size requires analytical thought and proper training. There are two serious issues of typical large truck training that should be considered:
- Requirements to pass the commercial drivers’ license (CDL) test are surprisingly minimal. No logged, supervised training hours driving a large truck or commercial vehicle are necessary at all.
- Regulations on company training are merely suggested, rather than required. The Department of Transportation last approached this subject in the 1980’s when they released the Proposed Minimum Standards for Training Tractor-Trailer Drivers. Since then, there has been no attempt to re-evaluate these standards or declare them mandatory, even though the Federal Highway Administration reports that only one third of large truck drivers obtain proper training.
With a vehicle as massive as a tractor-trailer, maintenance is a life-or-death issue. All components of a truck’s engine and mechanics should be inspected regularly. Brakes can especially pose safety problems. The Department of Transportation reports that brake issues are responsible for approximately 29 percent of trucking accidents. Drivers and trucking companies may be deemed liable due to a maintenance error if:
- Front brakes were depowered to reduce wear and tear.
- Tractor-trailer inspections were not conducted properly, or not conducted at all.
- Required maintenance logs, providing information regarding air leaks and component checks, were not properly kept.
Hancock Injury Attorneys– Tampa’s Trucking Accident Attorneys
If you have been involved in a large truck accident, you may be entitled to recover your lost wages, past and future medical expenses, and any loss from pain and suffering. At Hancock Injury Attorneys, we have the experience, skill, and knowledge to win your case. With locations in Brandon and Wesley Chapel, we offer a no-cost initial consultation to discuss your unique circumstances. Contact us today.