We all have to drive behind 18-wheelers or alongside them a major highway at one time or another. You might find yourself gripping the wheel a little tighter as you attempt to pass a big rig on I-95 or some other major thoroughfare.
While you might trust that the driver is fully trained and has his wits about him, the fact is that tractor-trailer accidents happen more often than you might think. In fact, truck accident attorneys often cite data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration about the rate of such crashes. More than 100,000 people were injured and nearly 4,000 people were killed in accidents involving large trucks in 2012, according to the NHTSA. The agency reports that 333,000 large trucks were involved in accidents that year. That amounts to an average of 912 crashes per day.
The federal agency reports that the number of injuries in 2012 reflects an 18 percent increase from 2011, when there were 88,000 injuries.
In an effort to reduce these serious crashes, we have provided the top factors in 18-wheeler crashes. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration lists “critical events” that play a role in truck accidents. They include the following factors:
- Veering out of the travel lane and into another lane that another car or motorcycle may be using.
- Driving too fast for conditions, resulting in a loss of control.
- Shifting cargo, sometimes linked to unsecured items.
- Equipment failure, such as brakes, steering or other mechanical or electronic systems in the big rig.
- Driving on poorly maintained roads.
- Rear-ending another vehicle in the truck’s path of travel.
The FMCSA also lists “critical reasons” that could cause an accident. These reasons include issues such as falling asleep at the wheel by the truck driver or the driver suffering a heart attack or having some other health crisis while driving. In addition, some drivers fail to pay attention due to distractions. They may make poor decisions such as driving too fast for the conditions or exceeding the post speed limit. In other cases, drivers panic during a sudden change in conditions. They might overcompensate or exercise poor directional control. These types of actions could result in a jackknife accident or cause the tractor-trailer to tip over.
There are many possible factors that can lead to a serious injury or fatal truck accident, which is why the government regulates the trucking industry. If trucking companies and their drivers follow the rules, the chance of serious accident will be diminished.
Anyone who is injured or who loses a loved one because of the negligence of a trucking company should not hesitate to arrange a consultation with a personal injury lawyer. A legal professional can offer a free, no obligation case review and discuss your rights.
Attorneys for truck accident victims generally work on a contingency fee basis, which means clients only pay attorney fees if there is a financial recovery. Contact Gonzalez Cartwright, P.A. in Lake Worth, FL today. To get driving directions, click here.