According to the US Department of Transportation, in 2012, there were 3,921 people killed and 104,000 people injured in crashes involving large trucks (gross vehicle weight rating greater than 10,000 pounds). In the United States, 333,000 large trucks were involved in traffic crashes during 2012 with 104,000 people injured.
Vehicle accidents involving tractor trailers can be complex. We are experienced in handling the special aspects that come along with interstate trucking. Many times the driver or the company had regulation violations and are driving anyway. You need an attorney that is experienced in the thorough investigation of each accident to discover every fact and angle of the case.
Most common reasons for accidents involving tractor-trailers:
Driver fatigue. Estimates from the National Transportation Safety Board indicate that driver fatigue could be responsible for as many as 40 percent of all tractor-trailer accidents in the U.S. This is because drivers often are forced to spend many hours on the road to meet deadlines. New hours-of-service rules went into effect in 2013, mandating a break within the first eight hours of driving for long-haul drivers and reducing the average weekly hours from 82 to 70 hours per week. Some rigs even have fatigue-warning devices for drivers, but not all companies have implemented this technology.
Speeding. Truck drivers are under a tremendous amount of pressure to get to their destinations by a certain deadline, which means they could be more likely to speed.
Drug and alcohol use. The use of prescription drugs and alcohol is dangerous for anyone who is going to get behind the wheel. Some studies indicate that substance use is one of the leading causes of tractor-trailer accidents.
Weight, cargo and load issues. There are very specific regulations in the trucking industry regarding weight limits and how trucks should be loaded. Trucks that are overloaded or improperly loaded could be more susceptible to tire blowouts, brake failures, rollovers and jack-knifing.
Here are some of the common effects of truck accidents:
Doctor and hospital bills
Physical therapy and rehabilitation
Scars and permanent disabilities
Medical forms and paperwork
Pain and suffering
Why should you call an experienced attorney if you have been involved in an accident with a tractor-trailer?