Most truck drivers are responsible, safe drivers; however, like any driver of any motor vehicle, they sometimes make mistakes. Unfortunately, even the smallest of errors can cause accidents, and when the driver of an 18-wheeler, that can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, crashes into a 5,000-pound pickup truck, car, or SUV, the results can be catastrophic or deadly.
Because of the complexity of truck accident cases and the severity of the injuries, it takes an experienced truck accident lawyer with the necessary resources to thoroughly and completely investigate and win an accident case involving a tractor-trailer.
Common Reasons for Semi-Truck Accidents
Because of the size of Semi-trucks and the loads being carried, drivers must undergo special training to learn how to respond to certain driving situations and reduce the likelihood of errors. Factors that may contribute to driver error and lead to tractor-trailer accidents include:
Environmental Conditions – Bad weather, such as snow, sleet, ice or rain can pose increased risks of danger when driving a semi-truck. Drivers must also know how to adjust to driving on certain terrain, such as roads that are in poor condition, roads that are undergoing maintenance, or mountainous areas like in North Georgia or Tennessee.
Poor Training – Drivers must be properly trained to handle unexpected conditions, such as how to properly adjust their speed based on the type of load being carried, and what to do if the driver comes upon a stopped car or an object in the road.
Driving drowsy – According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), drivers on the road for more than 8 hours have twice the risk of crashing than those driving for shorter periods of time. Driving drowsy can have the same type of affects as drinking alcohol, which can impact how a person makes decisions. Recent studies show that being awake for 24 hours and then driving is like having a blood alcohol content of .10.
Improper or no maintenance – Tractor-trailer trucks are constantly on the road, being driven for thousands of miles. They must regularly be checked for things like equipment failure, cracked windshields, and wear and tear on tires and brakes. Failing to maintain any one of these can lead to accidents. For example, if there is a tire blowout, drivers need to know what to do in order not to lose control of the truck.
Improper loading – There are certain loading guidelines that must be followed when loading the bed of commercial trucks. Improperly loaded or unsecured cargo can cause items to shift or fall off into the road or through the windshield of nearby vehicles. A perfect example of this can be seen here, where logs slid off the back of a truck through the windshield of the SUV behind it. Luckily, the driver of the SUV escaped with only minor injuries.
Aggressive driving/Speeding – Most people speed from time-to-time, but this can be especially dangerous in a tractor-trailer. Unlike smaller vehicles, it takes longer to stop one of these massive trucks when traveling at higher speeds. This can increase the likelihood of rollovers, jackknifing, or tire blowout.
Driving under the Influence of drugs or alcohol, or texting and driving are always reasons to increase the likelihood of accidents.
There are times when the trucking company itself creates an environment where accidents are more likely to happen.
- If a trucking company creates unrealistic, stringent deadlines for deliveries, then truck drivers may feel the need to increase their speed or drive longer hours without breaks in order to meet those deadlines. Unrealistic deadlines can create an even greater pressure if the drivers’ pay or job security depends upon their loads being delivered on time.
- Company deadlines that are too tight can also put a strain on workers at the loading docks. They may load cargo too quickly or carelessly in order to get it on the road and to its destination on time. This can lead to cargo not being properly balanced or secured, thereby creating an increased risk of danger.
Truck Accident Lawyer In Macon & Warner Robins, GA
Truck accident lawyer Jarome Gautreaux is experienced with representing injured victims in accidents involving large, 18-wheeler trucks. He has recovered millions of dollars for his clients in Macon, Warner Robins, and throughout the state of Georgia. If you have been injured in a tractor-trailer accident, contact the Gautreaux Law Firm today. 478-238-9758 or 888-876-6935. There is no charge for consultations, and we do not charge our clients anything unless we recover money for you.