The Common Causes of Truck Accidents (Part One)
DC injury lawyers Lewis and Tompkins offer aggressive legal services for those who have been injured by commercial truck drivers. If you or a loved one has been injured in the District, Maryland or Northern Virginia, the attorneys at Lewis and Tompkins can help.
Trucks are massive vehicles that have a weight of multiple tons even when they aren’t carrying a trailer. Since this puts them at an enormous size and weight advantage over regular cars, motorcycles and SUV’s, severe injuries and deaths are much more likely to occur in the event of an accident.
By their very nature, trucks are cumbersome vehicles that are hard to maneuver and extremely difficult to stop. The average drivers perspective to the sides and the rear of the vehicle is limited, and as a result of this many accidents are caused by the fault of the truck driver.
Truck accidents are a real and dangerous issue, affecting drivers not just in the United States but the entire world over. They cause thousands of fatalities and hundreds of thousands of injuries a year.
The driving errors they commit usually fall under the following categories:
Speeding: While this might seem to be an obviously reckless thing for truck drivers to do, many freight companies offer bonuses for drivers that get their freight in faster. In many cases, economics trumps safety considerations.
Drivers without enough training and driving skills: Many freight companies or independent drivers hire drivers with the bare minimum of training in order to save money on salaries. A driver with hardly any experience is more likely to make the most dangerous mistakes
Driver fatigue: Again, this is a case of economics being more important than safety. A driver will go without the required amount of sleep in order to get his freight in faster.
Driving under the influence: This is the very definition of reckless behavior in a truck driver, and it doesn’t necessarily have to limit itself to alcohol use. Some truckers use stimulants ranging from “white cross” amphetamines to cocaine in order to stay awake for longer periods.
Overloading : This happens often with trucks that are contracted to move freight without moving outside of state lines. Since they can avoid weighing stations, the trucks take more freight in order to make more money. This is extremely dangerous as it makes the truck even less maneuverable and harder to stop that it already is.
Improper securing of heavy loads: This happens often with flatbed trucks. Trucks can carry anything from timber to gigantic pieces of corrugated pipe to enormous prefabricated houses. When someone at the loading dock isn’t paying attention, the results could be disastrous.
Inaccurate inspection before and during the trip: Since trucks are commercial vehicles that are forced to use the public roads with the rest of us, they are required to undergo frequent safety inspections to make sure that these large, dangerous vehicles will operate under optimal safety standards. But many of these inspections are carried out by the freight companies themselves. This is a scenario where a grade of “close enough” could cost lives.