Truck accidents can be the most dangerous, and damaging, type of accident due to their weight and size of the vehicle. A fully loaded 18-wheeler can cause a great deal of damage. An 18-wheeler semi truck can weigh anywhere from 20,000 pounds if it is a single axle rig and 34,000 pounds if it is a tandem (double) axle. Fully loaded trucks can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that more than 296,000 trucks weighing over 10,000 pounds were involved in accidents in 2009 and Texas is among the top five states for fatal truck accidents. During this same year, there were more than 70,000 injuries resulting from truck accidents and 3,380 fatalities as a result of truck accidents. Of all the accidents reported in 2009, a full 87% were attributable to driver error. Driver error often includes:
- Inadequate observation
- Aggressive driving
- Over the counter drug use
- Inadequate training
- Lack of familiarity with surroundings
- Overloaded or improperly loaded cargo
In addition to driver error, negligence is another major factor in truck accidents including brake failure, bad tires and faulty equipment, driving while tired, negligent driving, and driving while intoxicated.
- Brake failure and defective equipment – Twenty-nine percent of all truck accidents result from faulty brakes and the failure to maintain brakes and other equipment; defective brakes and other equipment such as faulty tires or inoperable horns also play a part in contributing to truck accidents.
- Fatigue – Driving while tired is a big factor in truck accidents. Truckers often push their physical limits to get their load delivered on time which leads to fatigue. Truckers are therefore limited to eleven cumulative hours of driving within a fourteen hour period, followed by a rest period of no less than ten consecutive hours. They are also prohibited from working more than seventy hours within any period of eight consecutive days.
- Intoxication – whether by alcohol or drugs, driving while intoxicated often leads to accidents.
- Negligent driving – using a cell phone, texting while driving, playing with the radio, GPS or other equipment, or being distracted while driving. Other forms of negligence include driving in poor weather conditions or driving too fast for road conditions.
Avoiding Truck Accidents Being aware of the danger of sharing the road with an 18-wheeler and giving a truck sufficient respect is important. Never try to do battle with a truck – you will lose! Here are a number of other things you can to do to keep safe and avoid truck accidents.
- Always make yourself visible to a truck
- Never pass a truck on the right hand side
- Always make it easy for a truck to pass you
- Never tailgate a truck
- Never drive in front of a truck and then abruptly apply the brakes
- Always give trucks ample time and space to execute stops and turns
For a free legal consultation with a truck accidents lawyer serving Midland, call 800-863-5312
There are no guarantees, but following these guidelines can help give you the best possible chances of avoiding a truck accident of your own. There will always be unavoidable accidents however, if you have legal needs regarding your truck accident or the accident of a loved one, the Midland traffic accident lawyers at Zinda Law Group can help. Call 800-863-5312 today to schedule a free consultation.