There is a difference between an accident involving a car, and an accident involving a truck – It is the severity of the accident. A commercial truck is a large vehicle that is used to transport different kinds of goods. All over the road, you can find at least one or two commercial trucks. Examples of these trucks include 18-wheelers, semi-trucks, delivery trucks, dump trucks, and tankers. A fully-loaded truck weighs around 70,000 pounds, and a car only weighs 3,000 pounds. Which clearly means that a truck accident is much, much worse.
There is another difference between these two types of accidents, and that is how the claim is handled. Not only will the driver be blamed for this accident, but also the company where the truck comes from. Drivers are required to follow a different set of rules and regulations for driving and their truck’s maintenance.
Main Causes of Truck Accidents in the US
All truck drivers are required to follow a set of rules. Two of these rules are to always keep their trucks under daily maintenance, and to limit the number of hours that they can drive each day. There are a number of different reasons why these accidents occur. These may include the following:
The driver lacks experience or training
The truck is oversized or overloaded
The truck’s brakes are not maintained correctly
Poor weather conditions like heavy rain, snow, and fog
The truck’s headlights, reflectors, and warning devices are not working properly
The driver may be sleepy or over-fatigued from driving without taking a rest
Aggressive behavior while driving
Bad road conditions
Not giving way to other cars on the road
Driver was under the influence of dangerous substances like alcohol or drugs
The most common causes of these truck accidents include the following:
Fatigue – Fatigue is the most common cause of accidents among truck drivers. It is a contributing factor of 40% of all truck accident occurrences.
Intoxication – Lack of sleep then driving can be dangerous. But what’s even more dangerous is when the driver takes some stimulants to fight off the sleepiness, such as alcohol.
Weather conditions – Rain, snow, and fog can cause slippery roads and poor visibility. Plus too much sunshine and hot weather can cause fatigue.
Overloaded trucks – Trucks that have too much or too little weight can cause it to go out of control.
Equipment failure – It is required for all trucks to undergo regular checkups. However, brakes, tires, and other equipment can still malfunction, which can result in an accident.
Lack of driving experience – Even if these drivers have passed the exam that is required to drive trucks, it can still be quite a challenge to drive in real-life conditions. Lack of patience, not to mention poor training, often leads to poor decisions and failure to follow safety precautions on the road.
Some Truck Accidents in the US
October 2003 – Multi-vehicle accident involving truck and a bus near Illinois, killing 15.
September 2013 – 30-vehicle accident in Michigan, which included a transport truck, and two cars. This accident was caused by severe thunderstorms, and the speed of the vehicles. There were no major injuries or deaths.
December 2009 – A sudden dust storm in Interstate 10 caused the deaths of 3 people, and injured 14. 22 vehicles were involved in the pile-up. One of these vehicles included a gas tank truck that exploded and set 7 vehicles on fire.
March 2010 – 11 people died when a van crashed into a tractor-trailer in Kentucky.
July 2012 – A pickup truck collided with two trees in Texas. 15 were killed, while 9 survived.
October 2013 – 8 people died and 14 people were injured when a passenger bus overturned and hit a tractor trailer in Tennessee. The interstate was closed for a time because of this accident.
October 2013 – 44 people were injured and a woman died when a bus going from New York to Ohio crashed into a tractor trailer in Interstate 80.
Types of Truck Accidents
Different kinds of truck accidents can occur on highways, interstates, and streets. These may be any of the following:
A head-on truck accident occurs when a truck hits the front end of another vehicle. They can be extremely violent since vehicles are moving towards each other before collision.
A rear-end truck accident happens when the truck crashes into the vehicle in front of it. This usually happens when the vehicle in front of the truck slows down, and the truck driver does not manage to hit the breaks in time. This accident commonly happens to drivers that are sleepy or exhausted. Attorneys that specialize in truck accidents can determine whether the driver was sleepy or not, by putting together the vital pieces of information that happened before the accident. The attorney can retrieve driver logs, fuel receipts, bills of lading, and other documents from the truck company.
When the truck hits the side of the other vehicle, then this is called a side collision truck accident. This type of crash can severely injure the passenger, and damage the vehicle. The main factor in this type of crash is the speed of the truck. Another factor is when a truck doesn’t yield the right way. A personal injury attorney determines these issues by gathering accident reconstruction experts. These reconstruction experts will look at the vehicles in their condition after accident, as well as their placement.
A single-truck accident only involves one vehicle. Error caused by the truck driver is the main source of this accident, as well as over-speeding. Most of the roads that are involved in these types of accidents are called “dangerous roads”. Exhausted drivers can put themselves at high risk when driving through these dangerous roads.
A pile-up, or a multiple-vehicle truck accident, can occur in a lot of different ways. These accidents usually happen on interstates and highways. Multiple-vehicle truck accidents are the deadliest type of truck accidents. Vehicles crashing into one another can make escaping difficult. Also, fires are possible to ignite and travel across all the crashed vehicles. Passengers that are stuck inside these vehicles can burn to death. These fires can also damage the roadways because they burn and melt the asphalt.