Vehicle accidents come in a variety of shapes and forms. Sometimes, it only involves a single vehicle. Other times, though, it can involve two or even more. The kinds of vehicles that are involved, though, can have a significant impact on the extent of the damage and the severity of the injuries that result.
The worst kinds of vehicle accidents involve trucks or tractor trailers. These vehicles weigh ten times as much as a regular car, even when empty of cargo. When they have a full payload in their trailer they can weigh nearly thirty times more than an average car. When something of this size gets involved in a collision with you on the highway, it can make the crash even worse than it would have been, otherwise.
With such a high potential for severe injuries or even fatalities in a truck accident, one would expect truck drivers to do everything possible to avoid a crash. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Many truck drivers and their employers value speed and efficiency much more than the safety of the other drivers on the road, so they often bend the rules of safe driving in order to shave a few minutes off of their travel time and beat a deadline. When these unsafe truck driving practices lead to a truck accident, however, it can be you who gets seriously hurt.
The Problem of Unsafe Truck Driving Practices
Because trucking is a for-profit business, trucking companies often push their drivers to get their cargo to its destination in as little time as possible. In some instances, these demands are too harsh and require truck drivers to take risks that they would not otherwise take, putting themselves and others at risk of a serious crash.
In fact, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), many of the truck accidents that were caused by the trucker involve reckless or unsafe truck driving practices, such as speeding or other time-saving driving techniques like weaving. In their study, the FMCSA estimated that 77,000 of the 141,000 large trucks that had been involved in injury-causing accidents – nearly 55% – were responsible for something that contributed to the crash happening. Out of these estimated 77,000 truckers, about 25,000 – almost a third of them – had veered over the line and into another lane or off the road, while approximately 22,000 of them – more than a quarter – were driving while out of control of their vehicle, whether because of an excessive speed for the driving conditions or some other reason. Another 10% contributed to the crash by turning or crossing an intersection improperly.
The FMCSA's study also estimated that in 67,000 of the truck accidents – 87% of the crashes that the truck contributed to – the truck driver was a critical reason for the crash. The vast majority of these involved a decision by the truck driver or a recognition error that led to the crash. In 29,000 of the truck crashes, it was the driver's decision – whether to drive too fast than was safe for the conditions, follow other vehicles too closely for the truck's stopping distance, or to misinterpret what other vehicles were doing – that was an important cause of the accident. In 22,000 more, the driver's failure to recognize what was going on – whether because he or she was distracted or simply not paying attention to the road – that led to the crash.
Unsafe Truck Driving Techniques That Can Hurt You
Unfortunately, the poor driving of a truck driver can result in you getting hurt, even if you are abiding by all of the rules of the road and practicing safe driving techniques. You just have to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Here are some of the most common unsafe trucking practices that cause accidents.
Speeding is a common part of a trucker's life on the road. Pressured to get cargo to its destination before the deadline, truckers often bend the speed limit or flat out ignore it. However, this can make a truck take longer to come to a complete stop, especially if it has thousands of pounds of cargo in its trailer. This can lead to a terrible truck accident if you are in front of a truck on the highway and the trucker does not appreciate how long it will take to stop their vehicle.
Failing to Check Blind Spots
Truckers have more blind spots to check than the drivers of regular-sized vehicles, and those blind spots are far larger. If a trucker forgets to check the blind spots on their truck before making a road maneuver like a lane change, you could find yourself in a difficult position to get out of because of their negligence.
Just like driving a regular car, driving a truck while distracted is dangerous. However, just like car drivers, truck drivers operate their vehicle while calling or texting on the phone a disturbing amount. This prevents them from paying adequate attention to their surroundings, which can mean the difference between noticing something in time to avoid a collision and being powerless to stop it from happening.
Maryland Trial Attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian
Any accident on the roads of the United States is a serious threat to your well-being. However, if that accident involves a truck it can be much, much worse.
In these cases, it can be crucial to have a personal injury lawyer at your side soon after the crash to enforce your legal rights and protect your financial interests. Otherwise, it could be impossible to get compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages, and other losses from the accident. Without this compensation, the financial strain on you and your family can be significant which, coupled with the serious or even debilitating injuries that you now have to deal with, can be incredibly frustrating and seem very unfair.
Contact the law office of Gilman & Bedigian for the legal help you need to get the compensation you deserve. Call us at (800) 529-6162 or contact us online for a free consultation.