Trucking wrecks are not as common as automobile accidents. But when they do occur, injuries are often very severe and there is a more significant danger of fatalities. In this blog we look at five leading trucking wreck causes in the Commonwealth.
Trucking accidents can be caused by a driver or a mechanical or a loading failure. However, driver error is the most common cause of trucking crashes.
Five Leading Trucking Wreck Causes
1 Drivers Following Too Closely
We have all had a feeling of unease when we look in our mirrors and see a big rig closing on us. We are right to have concerns.
This article in HG.org states it takes a semi- truck about 525 feet to come to a complete stop. The equivalent figure for a passenger car is 316 feet. In wet weather, you can multiply that distance by at least two.
We have helped many clients who have suffered serious injuries after they have been rear-ended by trucks following too closely.
2 Trucker Fatigue
Federal laws are intended to prevent truckers falling asleep at the wheel. The hours of service regulation are frequently criticized and flouted. As many as 28 percent of truckers suffer from sleep apnea, according to the Department of Transportation. Sadly, in many cases the condition is not adequately treated. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration sets the hours of service rules. Truckers must take breaks by law.
That does not stop truck drivers from falling asleep at the wheel and causing horrendous accidents.
3 Mechanical Failures
There have been numerous incidences of brakes failing on heavy trucks, tires blowing out or other defects. Truck companies are under a legal obligation to maintain their rigs. Truckers also have to perform inspections before setting out. If you are injured or if a loved one was killed by a defective truck, you or family members often have recourse to sue the trucking companies.
Trucking Wreck Causes – Driver Illness
4 Physical Conditions of the Driver
Two years ago, the Large Truck Crash Causation Study by the FMSCA identified medical conditions like the driver suffering a heart attack or seizure, or being physically impaired as a cause of crashes. We are suffering from a shortage of truckers. This means more companies are employing people with physical conditions.
If a trucker has a condition like diabetes or sleep apnea that is not properly treated, the trucking company can be liable for a crash. A company can also be liable for failing to vet a trucker for past driving offenses like DUIs, or a history of substance abuse.
5 Improper Loading of a Truck
A loading company can be liable if it fails to follow the meticulous regulations related to a truck’s cargo. A driver should also inspect the cargo for obvious issues. Poor loading can cause a tractor trailer to become unstable and topple over. We have also seen cases in which debris or materials have fallen off trucks and caused accidents.
If you or a loved one has been injured due any of these trucking wreck causes or the fault of a driver, please call our Virginia truck accident injury team today at (757) 455-0077.