Tractor Trailer and Trucking Accidents
It is common sense that in a collision between a passenger car and a large truck, the driver of the occupants of the passenger car have a greater probability of being seriously or fatally injured. The average tractor trailer can weigh over twenty-five times that of a regular car. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 105,808 people died or suffered a personal injury in crashes involving large trucks or tractor trailers in 2007. Of those 105,808 people, 83 percent of those who died and 78 percent of those injured were occupants of a passenger vehicle.
Reasons for these crashes can include:
- Driver inattention/Distracted driving
- Cargo shifts/Cargo imbalance
- Illness/Health problems
- Inexperience/Lack of training
- Mechanical problems including insufficient brakes
- Cell phone use/Texting
- Failure to stay in lane/Improper lane change
The government has enacted laws to protect the public from the negligence of truck drivers and trucking companies. To try to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities from accidents involving large trucks, truck drivers are required to follow specific safety rules. These rules and regulations include hours-of-service limitations, cargo loading, safety inspections, required medical or physical examinations, and logging of all the driver’s time. Additionally, trucking companies have a responsibility to make sure that the individuals are fit to be driving a 75-80,000 pound vehicle on our nation’s highways. Trucking companies have a duty to check the driving records of their drivers, to make sure that their drivers have current licensing and medical certificates, and to make sure their drivers are properly trained and educated about all of the specific safety rules and regulations.
Unfortunately, these rules are not always followed by the drivers or the trucking company, with potentially catastrophic consequences.
If you have been involved in a collision with a tractor trailer, it is important to realize that the trucking company has a team of legal experts and investigators at their disposal. Representatives of the trucking company and insurance company are out to protect their own interests, not yours. They are trained professionals who deal with these overwhelming situations regularly. Make sure that your legal rights are protected.