All vehicle accidents can be catastrophic, but accidents involving large trucks (i.e. tractor-trailers, 18-wheelers, big rigs) can be especially devastating. For starters, the sheer size of a large truck increases the chance of serious injury or death in an accident. More concerning, however, is the risk of mechanical and driver error. While most truck drivers are utilizing safe driving practices and adhering to the restrictions on allowed driving time, many are not. Driver fatigue is a very real problem. Trucking companies can be so motivated to get their hauls delivered that they ignore the “hours of service rules.” Considering that these rules allow for up to 11 hours per day of driving time, a driver that exceeds these limits may be on the road for 12, 13, or 14 hours (or even longer).
Weather, road conditions, and other motorists can cause truck accidents. However, the truck drivers themselves are ten times more likely to be at fault. Driver fatigue is the main culprit of driver error. The aforementioned “hours of service rules” impose strict regulations on legal driving time and rest periods. While drivers are allowed to drive for 11 hours per day, they must have at least ten consecutive hours of rest between shifts. The law requires these hours to be logged, but there have been several cases of fraudulent driver logs. Another method of tracking driver hours is by reviewing time stamped delivery records. Other types of driver error include drug and alcohol use, not seeing other motorists in the truck’s blind spot, and misjudging curves and weight distribution (which can result in rollovers).
Defective brakes are one of the most common types of vehicle error-related truck accidents. In fact, defective brakes account for more than one quarter of all trucking accidents. Brake problems may be the result of manufacturer error, or they may be due to driver, owner, or company negligence. Some examples of driver or company negligence include de-powering front brakes to avoid the cost of wear and tear, improper maintenance, and failure to conduct inspections prior to each trip. Manufacturer error may also come into play. Examples of manufacturer error include mistakes made during the manufacturing process and not adhering to safety regulations.
At the law offices of Kevin J. Roach, we have successfully obtained compensation for thousands of clients, including victims of trucking accidents. If you have been injured in an accident, we can help. Accidents involving trucks can present many complications. In addition to the truck driver and the victim, there are often owners, manufacturers, and trucking companies to contend with. Our legal team will fight to protect your rights and help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.