Thousands of individuals die each year in accidents involving semi-trucks. In 2017, nearly 4,700 large trucks were involved in roadway crashes that included the loss of human life, according to data compiled by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Overall, in the same year 56,422 large trucks were involved in crashes that resulted in physical injuries. Singles (truck tractors pulling a single semi-trailer) accounted for 59 percent of the large trucks involved in fatal crashes in 2017.
These wrecks can occur for various reasons. Most of the victims in these collisions are those traveling in passenger vehicles who are left at a distinct disadvantage. The difference in weight between a semi-truck and other standard vehicles, in addition to the speed at which one or both vehicles are traveling, can lead to extremely serious and sometimes fatal injuries.
Some of the more common reasons for semi-truck accidents include:
With the increase in the use of handheld devices such as smartphones in addition to technology within tractor-trailer vehicles, distracted driving has become a serious threat on the roadways. Distracted drivers are not properly focused on the vehicle and safe driving responsibilities. In addition to cell phone use, other external stimuli can also lead to these accidents. A semi-truck driver is vulnerable to causing a roadway collision from engaging in activities such as eating, drinking, typing address information into a GPS, or other distracting activities.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides warnings to drivers about the seriousness of driver fatigue, particularly for truck drivers. Individuals operating heavy semi-trucks often embark upon long journeys that include thousands of miles over the course of a few short days. Federal rules are in place that limit the service hours a commercial truck driver can drive within a designated period of time. However, regardless of these rules, driver fatigue among truck drivers continues to remain a common reason for semi-truck crashes.
Another common cause of semi-truck crashes is inexperienced truck drivers, or drivers with inadequate training. Some trucking carriers pay for their drivers to complete truck driving courses and then place them behind the wheel of large semis in short order. However, if the training is inadequate or the training period is too short, the inexperienced driver may pose a significant risk to everyone else on the road. In addition, cost can play a part in the decision to hire inexperienced drivers over more experienced drivers who demand higher wages.
There are also federal maintenance regulations the trucking companies are required to follow in order to keep their semi-trucks in good operating condition. If trucking companies failed to properly maintain certain vehicle parts and components, such as the tires or braking system, serious motor-vehicle collisions can result. Truck companies are to remain compliant with federal rules and have their vehicles undergo periodic maintenance and certain checks before each trip.
Improper cargo loading
In some cases, the cause of semi-truck wrecks is improperly loaded cargo. If the loading process is done without taking load balance into proper consideration, or in haste in order to get the truck driver onto his or her next destination, deadly mistakes can occur. Some inexperienced loaders may also not sufficiently understand how to distribute cargo weight properly to ensure a safe load balance in the vehicle. These errors can lead to accidents that involve overturning and jack-knifing trucks.
If you suffered injuries from a collision involving a commercial truck due to the negligence of a truck driver, trucking company, or other third-party, we are here to help. At Harris Lowry Manton LLP, we have a strong track record of providing aggressive representation on behalf of Georgia truck accident victims. We can help you pursue the compensation you deserve for your injuries. To set up a free case evaluation, call our Atlanta office at 404.998.8847, our Savannah office at 912.417.3774, or use our contact form to leave us a message.