Truck accidents are some of the most dangerous things that can happen on the roads of Philadelphia. The extreme size of many trucks and tractor trailers make any collision that they cause a potentially fatal one. Because tractor trailers weigh ten times what a normal passenger car weighs, even when empty, truck accidents are often far more serious than one that only involves smaller cars or even SUVs. Unfortunately, the people who suffer the most in truck accidents are those who are driving smaller cars: According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), when a truck and a passenger collided and a fatality resulted from the crash, occupants in the car involved comprised 97% of those fatalities.
With so much danger riding on the wheels of a large truck or tractor trailer, one would expect truckers and trucking companies to do all that they could to adequately maintain their vehicles to ensure that these accidents would never happen. Unfortunately, this is far from the case. Trucking companies operate for a profit, and properly maintaining a large truck can cost them money. As a result, trucking accidents caused by poor or improper truck maintenance in Philadelphia is a shockingly common occurrence.
Improper Truck Maintenance Can Cause Severe Accidents
An improperly or poorly maintained tractor trailer can suffer from serious problems that result in a truck accident. Just a sampling of the issues that can crop up in a truck that has been poorly maintained are worn or incorrectly inflated tires, unbalanced or worn out brakes, and broken brake or turn lights. Any one of these mechanical problems can cause a severe trucking accident, and all of them are easily fixable or prevented with proper truck maintenance. However, truckers and trucking companies that are trying to make as much money as possible and are willing to put innocent drivers in harm's way to do it tend not to take these preventative measures. When they put off properly maintaining their vehicles, it can cause a crash that seriously hurts others that have the misfortune to be on the road at the same time and in the same place.
Unfortunately, this kind of thing happens way too often in the U.S. and the Philadelphia area. According to a study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), one single result of poorly maintained trucks – brake failures – contributed to nearly one out of every three truck crashes between 2001 and 2003. Other maintenance oversights that were not included in these numbers, like those dealing with tire pressure, likely increase this rate significantly.
Responsibility for Truck Maintenance
One of the biggest reasons for so many trucks failing because of improper or poor maintenance is a lack of communication over who is supposed to maintain it. Truck drivers are in the best position to notice something that is wrong with the vehicle that they drive for hours every day but is in a terrible position to do much about a problem when one does come up. On the other hand, trucking companies have the ability to take a truck off the road and the facilities to give it the maintenance that it needs, but rarely have the ability to find or notice potential issues without being alerted to them by the drivers. Unfortunately, both the driver and the trucking company have a financial incentive to ignore a maintenance issue until it is too late to fix it.
While the truck is on the road, truck drivers who are behind the wheel are the only ones able to notice something that is wrong with the vehicle. To increase their ability to detect a potential maintenance problem, trucking companies often require truckers to conduct a quick inspection before getting behind the wheel and make entries in a log book about potential hazards that need to be looked at by a mechanic. However, these same trucking companies tend to only pay their drivers by the mile driven, so these inspections, for drivers, are an unpaid inconvenience that prevents them from making a living. It is not surprising when they elect to skip them in order to make up some time or get to their destination quicker.
Even if a truck driver does perform these inspections and makes an appropriate notation in their log book to notify the trucking company of the problem, that does not mean that the truck will get fixed. Trucking companies exist to make a profit, and any time one of their vehicles is off the road, it does not make any money. Worse, the costs for parts and labor needed to perform regular maintenance on a truck make trucking companies hesitate even more. As a result, many trucking companies delay and delay giving a tractor trailer the care and attention that it needs, letting the improperly maintained truck depreciate until it becomes so dangerous that it increases the chances of causing a truck accident. By this point, though, it might be too late.
Philadelphia Truck Accident Attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian
The worst part about being involved in a truck accident in Philadelphia that was caused by an improperly or poorly maintained truck is that they are completely preventable. Unfortunately, the people who are in the best position to take the steps necessary to prevent it have financial interests that make them want to turn a blind eye until it is too late.
When that time comes and you have the misfortune to be driving near a truck that has been poorly maintained, you need an attorney to help you get the compensation that you are legally entitled to. By hiring the personal injury lawyers at the law office of Gilman & Bedigian, you can rest assured that everything is being done to make sure you get the financial help you need to make the recovery you deserve. Contact us online or call our law office at (800) 529-6162 for a free consultation.