Being in any kind of vehicle accident can have a profound impact on your life. However, when the other vehicle that is involved in the collision is a truck or a tractor trailer, the injuries that you can suffer are often far more extreme. This is because trucks have a higher profile, while results in their fenders hitting your car higher than other passenger vehicles would have. This minimizes the protections that are provided by your own vehicle and increases the likelihood of you suffering a serious head or neck injury.
Perhaps worse, though, is the additional weight that a tractor trailer can bring into a truck accident. While passenger vehicles typically weigh around 3,000 pounds, even empty truck weigh ten times as much. If they are full of cargo, trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. If you are involved in a collision with one of these vehicles, the property damage and the personal injuries that you can suffer can be significant.
Unfortunately, trucking companies do not do all that they can to prevent these kinds of truck accidents. Instead, they often skimp on training their truck drivers so they are ill-prepared for the dangers of driving a truck. This puts you and the other drivers on the roads of Washington, D.C. at risk of a serious truck accident.
Inadequate Truck Driver Training Can Cause an Accident
Both truck drivers and the companies that employ them only make money when they are moving cargo from one place to another. Because this does not happen while a truck driver is in training, both the driver and his or her trucking company can easily see this time as a waste, or at least as an inconvenience. Because both sides are so interested in making the training go quickly, it should come as no surprise that they complete as little of it as possible. This way, the trucking company can keep its costs down and both of them can start making a profit as soon as possible.
While these incentives only suggest that poor truck driving training would be a problem in the District of Columbia, statistics back it up, as well. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) – the federal agency responsible for enacting regulations dealing with all aspects of interstate traffic safety – conducted a study on truck accidents. The study looked at 967 truck accidents – all of which involved an injury or a fatality – in 17 states between 2001 and 2003. The study recorded numerous factors in the crash, determined how likely they were to happen, and then used those numbers to determine how many of the estimated 141,000 truck accidents during that time frame involved those factors.
The results of the FMCSA's study found that 6.5% of the truck accidents that happened while the study was going on involved a truck driver who was unfamiliar with the truck that they were driving at the time of the crash. This correlated to an estimated 9,000 accidents over the course of 33 months.
The study by the FMCSA, however, suggested that the problem of inadequate truck driver training was even more serious than that. A significant portion of the truck accidents covered in the study involved truck driving tactics that strongly suggested a lack of training on the truck driver's part. For example, nearly a quarter of the truck accidents in the FMCSA's study involved a truck driver who was speeding or otherwise going too fast for the road conditions. Another 21.6% involved truckers who were unfamiliar with the roadway they were driving on. Finally, in more than one in five of the truck accidents a contributing factor was a truck driver who was driving aggressively or was following the leading vehicle too closely. In each of these situations, the truck driver was doing something that a properly trained trucker would know not to do.
Trucker Training is Important for Others on the Road
The differences between driving a car and driving a truck are significant. Even if a truck driver has been driving a passenger vehicle for most of his or her life, they still need plenty of training before they understand how a truck is different and how to account for those differences. In fact, people who are accustomed to driving a car – even a large one like an SUV or a pickup truck – often have a lot to “unlearn” before they can drive a truck well.
For example, when they are being driven at 55 miles per hour and the driver hits the brakes, a truck takes about 120 yards to come to a complete stop. A car, on the other hand, takes only about 50 yards. Because their vehicle will take more than twice as far to come to a complete stop means that truckers need to look further out ahead of them to see potentially hazardous situations so they can react to them in time. To make matters worse, when a truck brakes suddenly it can cause other dangerous situations like a jackknife or a cargo shift, either of which can cause an accident on their own. Properly trained truck drivers, though, understand how to brake in time for an emergency without causing either one of these potentially hazardous scenarios.
Washington, D.C. Truck Accident Attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian
Getting hurt in a truck accident can be life-changing. It can also be incredibly frustrating if the collision was caused by the trucker because they did not have proper training. These kinds of accidents are completely preventable if only the trucker and the trucking company took the safety of other drivers seriously.
Because there is little that you can do to prevent these types of truck crashes, you should be compensated for whatever losses you have suffered. This is where the personal injury attorneys at the law office of Gilman & Bedigian can help. Contact us online or call us at (800) 529-6162 to get the legal help you need to make the recovery you deserve.