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What Causes Commercial Truck Accidents?

Posted in Truck Accidents on December 13, 2019

A semi-truck that has rolled overAlthough they drive the same roads that other vehicles do and have similar engines and mechanics, tractor-trailer trucks require specific skills and care to drive. When drivers are inadequately prepared, ignore federal truck driving laws, drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or are otherwise negligent, innocent lives are at risk.

In fact, truck accidents are more common than you might think. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), in 2017, there were 102,000 reported injury crashes involving large trucks in the United States. The numbers of registered big rigs are on the rise, and with this increase comes an increase in truck accidents, injuries, and fatalities.  If you or someone you love is injured in an accident with a commercial truck, now is the time to contact a compassionate New Orleans truck accident attorney.

Driver Fatigue

Driver fatigue is the most common cause of big rig accidents in this country. When a truck driver is overworked and tired due to driving long hours with little rest, their judgment and reaction times decline. They may even fall asleep at the wheel. This puts them at a higher risk of causing an accident. Unfortunately, many trucking companies have unrealistic expectations when it comes to the timing of the delivery of goods. Truck drivers end up feeling the pressure to meet these employer-imposed deadlines and do their best to meet them. In some cases, the safety of others becomes compromised.

Substance Use

Some truck drivers consume alcohol and drugs while on the road, and some partake when they make stops. When they are under the influence of these substances, their driving is impaired, and they are much more likely to drive carelessly and cause an accident. It is important to note that it isn’t just illegal drugs that can cause impairment. There are many over-the-counter and prescription drugs that should not be taken by anyone driving a vehicle, especially someone operating an 18-wheeler.

Lack of Proper Truck Maintenance

Being on the road is hard not only on big rig drivers but their trucks as well. Due to their size and the distances they drive, commercial trucks must be inspected and maintained on a regular basis. Sometimes drivers skip the mandated inspections and upkeep of their trucks as required by federal laws in order to save time and make their deliveries quicker. From a productivity standpoint, these actions make sense; however, it can cause severe accidents and injuries that are easily preventable.

Inadequate Training

Just as new drivers of traditional vehicles need a certain number of hours and training before being licensed, so do commercial truck drivers. Federal laws require truck drivers to have a certain number of training and behind-the-wheel practice hours. This training is invaluable for improving their driving skills, but some truckers and their trucking companies choose not to adhere to these regulations. Thus, inexperienced truck drivers are on American roadways every day, putting all of us at risk.

Distractions While Driving

Driving long distances is not always entertaining. In fact, it can be downright boring, especially in certain parts of the country. As a result, some drivers allow themselves to be distracted multi-taskers while operating their rigs. Whether it’s eating, talking on the phone, texting, adjusting the radio, or grooming, there are numerous activities that drivers can become distracted by while driving.

Truck drivers taking their eyes and attention off the road for even a split second can cause an accident. They need to understand the risk that this imposes to not only themselves but other drivers on the road as well. If they still decide to drive while distracted, your truck accident lawyer in New Orleans could hold them liable for their negligence.

Improper Loading of the Truck

Commercial trucks were designed to carry large loads of goods, but they must be loaded correctly.  The weight of the load must be appropriately distributed, or it could cause the semi-truck to jack-knife or be challenging to maneuver.

Sometimes workers that are in a hurry fail to load semi-trucks properly. If care is not taken to load trucks to prevent the items from shifting and moving during transport, physics will increase the risk of a serious accident occurring.

Other Drivers on the Road

Sometimes the drivers of other vehicles on the road are the ones that cause or contribute to the cause of truck accidents. Drivers who do the following near commercial trucks increase the risk of an accident:

  • Driving in no-zones (areas behind and beside a commercial truck where the truck driver has limited or zero visibility)
  • Making an abrupt lane change in front of a truck
  • Moving to the right of a big rig that is making a right turn
  • Underestimating an approaching truck’s speed at an intersection, and then making a left turn in front of the truck
  • Merging improperly into traffic, causing a truck to move or brake quickly
  • Failing to adjust their vehicle’s rate of speed when a truck begins to change lanes or merge
  • Unsafe passing, especially passing with insufficient headway
  • Passing a truck, then being blown out of position by air turbulence or cross-wind
  • Entering into traffic from the roadside in front of a commercial truck without accelerating fast enough
  • Driving between multiple large trucks
  • Abandoning a vehicle in a travel lane, or not getting a disabled vehicle completely off the highway and onto the shoulder so that it is out of the way entirely

Even if you think you are partly to blame for your accident, it’s essential to meet with an attorney about your case. If a driver admits to one or more of these indiscretions, with the help of an experienced truck accident attorney in New Orleans, they may still receive financial compensation for their injuries and damages.

Help from a Truck Accident Attorney in New Orleans

If you were recently in an accident with a commercial truck driver, a dedicated New Orleans truck accident lawyer could assist you in recovering your damages. You may have missed time at work, endured pain and suffering, or have tens of thousands of medical bills to pay after an accident with a semi-truck.

Call (504) 500-5000 to reach the Law Office of John W. Redmann, L.L.C., or use our convenient online contact form to schedule your commercial truck accident legal consultation today.