Like most auto accidents, collisions involving commercial vehicles are usually caused by a number of combined factors. Trucking company negligence, truck driver distractions, and big rig defects all play a role in the frequency of collisions. Carelessness on the part of passenger vehicle drivers should also be acknowledged, as people driving smaller cars tend to drive more aggressively around vehicles that are moving slowly.
Everyone shares responsibility in keeping our highways safe. The following factors have been identified by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration as primary causes for trucking accidents:
Truck Driver Negligence
Truck drivers who are found to be negligent in a commercial vehicle accident can be held liable for any crash-related injuries or fatalities that result from it. Should you or a family member be involved in an accident with a large truck, you may be entitled to compensatory damages if the driver of that truck is found to have been negligent. Some causes of truck driver negligence can be attributed to:
Failure to notice blind spots – Blind spots can exist on the sides, front, and back of large trucks. Truck drivers may steer into a car without noticing it’s there if he or she has not properly checked blind spots.
Speeding – Large trucks can be difficult to control, particularly if the driver is exceeding the speed limit. This can lead to dangerous driving and serious accidents.
Wide Turns – Extreme turns are often required to accommodate the size of large trucks. If the truck drier doesn’t see a car between the truck and a curb, the car may be dangerously cut off or squeezed in.
Dangerous lane changes – Large trucks require significantly more stopping distance than the average motor vehicle, and rapid lane changes can cause a serious collision.
Distracted Driving – The dangers of distracted driving caused by texting or talking on cell phones is not limited to drivers of passenger cars. In fact, semi truck drivers who interact with their mobile devices while driving can be even more dangerous.
Trucking Company Neglegence
Excessive driving hours – Employers often pressure truck drivers to continue driving past the point of exhaustion and accept heavier workloads than they can safely handle. Driving while excessively fatigued is just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol.
Neglecting to provide proper safety devices – Safety devices on trucks such as rear underride protection or conspicuity tape which helps prevent truck visibility accidents are not only good safety practices, they are required by law in many states.
Hiring unqualified drivers – In many cases, trucking companies do not follow the proper procedures for ensuring the drivers they hire are properly trained and carry the required certifications.
Lack of required Truck maintenance – Trucking companies frequently cut corners when it comes to regular inspection, maintenance, and repair of their vehicles. Serious and even fatal accidents can occur when trailer visibility safety measures or under ride guards are not maintained leading to underride crashes. When accidents occur due to improper maintenance, the trucking companies are liable for any damages caused.
Defective Products Leading To Florida Truck Accidents
Truck tire defects and abnormalities – Federal law requires that passenger and commercial vehicles be equipped with functional, safe tires. This means that tires with material visible through the tread or sidewall, tread or sidewall separation, or insufficient tread depth, or tires that are flat or leaking must not be used for driving any vehicle. Selling or driving a truck with tire defects and abnormalities poses a grave threat to all persons on the road, and those who choose to ignore this fact must be held responsible.
Lack of structural integrity – Truck and auto manufacturers are expected to anticipate that a vehicle might roll over, land on its side or roof, or sustain frontal or rear impact. If a vehicle is poorly designed, it may not hold up in such conditions, causing the sides or roof to collapse and insufficiently protect passengers. Such negligence in design is unacceptable, and manufacturers must be held liable for such commercial defects.
Defective brakes – Many big rigs employ air brakes which are complicated braking systems that require a special license to operate them. When these braking systems fail, the results can be catastrophic, often resulting in serious injury or death when the massive truck slams into an unexpecting passenger vehicle.
Truck drivers, trucking companies, and big rig manufacturers are well aware of the risks and prevention factors involved in their trade. Still, many of those in the trucking industry ignore safety precautions for the sake of saving time and reaping larger profits.
Serious and even fatal injuries, not to mention costly vehicle damage, can be caused by a collision with a large truck. Personal injury claims involving accidents with large trucks can be complex. See our article on Semi-Truck Accidents and Personal Injury Claims for more detailed information. The truck accident attorneys at our firm are experienced lawyers who are able to handle complex cases such as these. We have extensive experience in truck accident litigation and have devoted a great deal of study to laws pertaining to truck drivers. If you or a family member has been injured or suffered a wrongful death a result of a big rig accident, you may be entitled to compensation from the responsible parties, including damages for:
- Past and future medical bills
- Past and future lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Funeral costs
David & Philpot, PL, serve the Orlando and Central Florida area and are dedicated to seeking restitution for the victims of Florida truck accidents. Our lawyers are here to help you through this difficult time. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.
Common Causes Of Florida Truck Accidents – By Tim David