Given that Texas is a gateway for commerce throughout North America, drivers must share the road with commercial trucks and tractor-trailers. The risk of a truck accident is high, therefore, and the consequences of a collision are often catastrophic for the occupants of smaller vehicles. Faced with grave injuries and costly medical bills, truck accident victims struggle to regain normalcy, which is why it is essential to have proper legal representation.
If you or a loved one has been injured or died in a truck accident, you should consult a capable personal injury attorney who can help you obtain just compensation. In the meantime, this article is a brief discussion of the common causes of truck accidents.
Truck Accidents at a Glance
Trucks and big rigs are difficult to maneuver and navigate due to their size and weight. This is why truck drivers and trucking companies are held to a higher standard of care to operate their vehicles safely and avoid causing injuries to others. Nonetheless, truck accidents are common for a wide variety of reasons, such as:
- Improper Maintenance — both state and federal laws require trucks to be properly maintained and routinely inspected. Accidents are common, however, when vehicle parts and components (e.g. braking systems, brake lights, engines, tires, trailers) are not adequately maintained. A trucking company that fails to properly maintain its fleet can be held liable if a mechanical defect causes a truck accident.
- Driver Fatigue — state and federal rules also impose limits on the number of hours truckers can drive, and also require truck drivers to take regular rest breaks. Truckers must typically meet strict delivery deadlines and cover vast distances, however, which can cause fatigue. Truck driver fatigue can lead to lane drifting, diminished depth perception, and truckers falling asleep at the wheel. A driver who exceeds hourly driving limits can be found legally responsible for a truck accident caused by fatigue.
- Distracted Driving — The rigors of driving, being alone on the road for days on end, and lengthy work schedules, increases the risk of truck drivers becoming distracted. Even well-rested truckers can be distracted by onboard technology, GPS systems, smartphones, or eating and drinking. Nonetheless truckers can be held liable for distracted driving accidents.
- Lack of Training — It is a common industry practice for trucking companies to pay new drivers to complete truck driving courses. Given that truckers are typically paid by the mile, and experienced truckers are compensated at a higher rate, trucking companies often put new drivers on the road prematurely. New drivers are more likely to cause accidents, however, because they lack the skills and experience to maneuver commercial trucks and tractor trailers safely.
- Improper Loading — despite state and federal laws limiting cargo weight on trucks, improper loading can also cause truck accidents. Cargo that is not evenly distributed on a truck or trailer can cause the vehicle to roll over or jack-knife.
The Bottom Line
While driving a car in Texas means sharing the road with trucks and tractor-trailers, negligent truck drivers and trucking companies must be held accountable for accidents and injuries. No matter how careful you are, the risk of being involved in a truck accident is high. If you already have, you need Adams Law Firm by your side.
Posted in: Truck Accident