Commercial truck accidents are devastating more often than not. Their sheer size (the average semi-truck weighs 80,000 pounds and is 70 to 80 feet long) means that commercial vehicles such as trucks, buses, and even delivery vans are likely to cause great damage in the event of an accident, leaving other drivers severely injured in the process.
In 2018, the most recent year for data, 4,951 people killed in crashes involving large trucks in California, and 71 percent of those killed were occupants of other vehicles.
California drivers share the road with these massive vehicles every single day. And while accidents can happen to anyone at any time, knowing some of the common causes of truck accidents can help you when it comes to spotting a potential problem on the road and avoiding a crash.
Lots of things can lead to truck driver error on the road. That includes reckless driving (speeding and disregarding/disobeying traffic laws), driving under the influence, and distracted driving. If it can be proved that the truck driver was doing one or more of these at the time of the accident, that person could be found negligent.
Fatigue can also cause problems and lead to accidents. Drivers of commercial vehicles are required by law to comply with Hours of Service rules that dictate how long they can be behind the wheel of their truck for any given stretch of time. Not every driver follows these rules to the letter, however. Even when they do, drivers work long hours and travel great distances by themselves, which can lead to fatigue and impair decision-making behind the wheel.
Mechanical failures on the truck itself can also cause accidents. These failures happen for a variety of reasons. They may be due to a faulty design or installation of truck parts, factors that are often the cause of, for example, brakes failing to operate properly. Alternatively, a poorly maintained truck could malfunction in transit and cause an accident.
Improperly loaded cargo is another potential hazard. Trucks have to adhere to specific weight, height, and size limits when it comes to how much cargo they can carry. When trucking companies fail to comply with these regulations — which vary from one cargo type to the next — they take the risk of causing serious accidents. For example, a cargo load that’s too heavy could tip the entire trailer over. Hazardous materials improperly packed could spill or catch fire, endangering lives. The trucking company is supposed to inspect each load before the truck departs.
Truck drivers are required to fulfill a certain amount of training hours before they are allowed to carry a commercial load. Training should teach them not only how to operate and manage the truck, but also how to navigate through severe weather conditions, poor roads, and other external hazards they might encounter.
Inadequate or poor training could result in a driver making decisions on the road that put themselves or others in danger.
If you or your loved one were harmed in a trucking accident involving any type of commercial vehicle, you may have the right to the financial recovery of your damages from those at fault. Please reach out to us today or call (888) 831-8448 to discuss your case.