Most people encounter commercial trucks and other large vehicles nearly
everyday on the road. Most of the time these interactions occur as smoothly
as any encounter with any other vehicle. However, the drivers operating
these vehicles have the possibility to turn 80,000 pound vehicles
into extremely dangerous road hazards if they are negligent.
If you or a loved one is involved in an accident with a commercial truck,
you may be entitled to recover compensation for your injuries by bringing
a legal claim against the responsible parties. The experienced personal
injury attorneys at Goldstein & Hayes, P.C. are here to help. Contact
Commercial Truck Safety
When a commercial truck or vehicle is involved in an accident, it can often
be much more catastrophic than an accident that occurs between two personal-use
vehicles. A commercial truck can weigh up to 25 times as much as a regular
car. Simple laws of physics dictate that this drastic weight difference
between a large commercial truck and a smaller personal use vehicle will
often result in serious and sometimes fatal injuries for those in the
Operating a commercial truck is complicated and requires extensive training,
as well as adhering to strict safety and operational regulations. When
these safety measures are skipped, other passengers and motorists can
be put at risk.
Despite statistics that tend to show that truck drivers are typically more careful on the road than
automobile drivers, large truck crashes still accounted for almost 5,000
fatalities, and over 106,000 injuries in 2006, according to the U.S. Department
of Transportation. Many times, these accidents are not the fault of the
truck driver and are the result of unforeseen road hazards or the negligent
driving of other drivers.
Proving your Case
As with most personal injury cases involving vehicle accidents, the main
legal theory behind commercial truck accidents is negligence. Therefore,
when a person is injured in a commercial truck accident, they must prove
that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty to exercise reasonable degree
of care to avoid injury, that the defendant failed to exercise reasonable
care, and finally that the defendant's failure to exercise reasonable
care was the cause of the injury suffered by the plaintiff.
Types of Negligence
There are many forms that truck driver negligence can take, but some of
the most common include:
Driving too fast for conditions
Driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs
Following too close/tailgating
Failing to properly inspect the condition of the vehicle prior to departure
Failure to secure the load properly
Overloading the vehicle
Lack of attention to the highway, traffic, or weather conditions
Tired or drowsy driving
Truck drivers have mandated breaks for both rest and sleep, and skipping
them in order to meet a deadline is common, as well as falsifying driver
logs in order to exceed permitted driving hours.
In addition to these common forms of negligence, there are several special
considerations that can occur in truck driving accidents, such as jackknifing
and turning accidents. 18-wheelers are much more prone to jackknifing
under certain conditions, especially during sudden braking and turning.
Large trucks also can be difficult to turn, sometimes requiring more than
one lane, which can lead to a dangerous situation for others on the road.