An accident with a big truck often means more severe injuries and more substantial suffering than if you had suffered injuries in a normal car crash. Trucks have a much larger mass than smaller passenger vehicles, which means they have a higher risk of causing devastating crushing damage. Furthermore, the force of a truck accident has a high risk of causing injuries like traumatic brain injury or spinal cord injury. Unfortunately, around 2,640 vehicles end up involved in fatal truck accidents across Georgia each year.
After a truck accident, you need an attorney who can help guide you through the truck accident claim process, including identifying all parties that may share liability for your truck accident. With a look at these common causes of truck accidents, attorneys can better determine what caused your truck accident, including contributing factors that may change the balance of liability and influence your ability to obtain compensation for your losses.
1. Driver Fatigue
According to the FMCSA, truck drivers can spend a maximum of eleven hours out of a fourteen-hour shift each day behind the wheel. Unfortunately, that means a lot of time out on the road and can mean a high dose of fatigue, which can make it very difficult for drivers to navigate safely. Fatigued drivers may show some of the same effects as drivers under the influence of drugs and alcohol, including tunnel vision or slowed reflexes. Furthermore, fatigued drivers may actually fall asleep behind the wheel, leaving no one in control of the vehicle.
Fatigue contributes to around 30-40% of truck accidents, making it a serious hazard that can create immense accident risk.
2. Ignoring the Rules of the Road
Truck drivers often push to reach their destinations within a predetermined deadline. They may be pressured by factors outside their control, including an employer that will penalize them heavily for failing to make a delivery on time. As a result, truck driver may ignore the rules of the road in an effort to get to their destinations sooner. They may, for example, speed, which decreases the time they have to respond in the event of a dangerous incident on the road, or they may choose to go through red lights or stop signs because of the added time necessary to stop at an intersection. When truck drivers ignore the rules of the road, other drivers may struggle to predict their actions, which can increase the risk of a collision.
3. Blind Spot Accidents
Big trucks have equally large blind spots that run along all four sides of the vehicle. Truck drivers may have a hard time seeing other vehicles as they move alongside them. Many drivers, however, do not realize the full extent of truck blind spots. As a result, they may hang out in those blind spots rather than heading on their way. In the tight traffic throughout Atlanta and the surrounding area, it can prove more difficult for drivers to get away from those dangerous blind spots.
4. Cargo Issues
Loading a truck brings with it a heavy responsibility. Improperly-loaded cargo can fall from the back of an open vehicle, crushing cars alongside the truck or creating a hazard in the road. Cargo shifting in the back of a trailer, on the other hand, can increase the risk of a jackknife accident as the trailer swings away from the control of the towing cab.
Sometimes, truck drivers will bear liability for a cargo-related accident, since they failed to properly monitor the placement of that cargo in the vehicle. In other cases, however, the company that loaded the cargo will bear liability for the incident.
5. Inadequate Training
Before they can take to the road in a big truck, truck drivers must go through more extensive training than the average driver of a passenger vehicle. However, training can vary dramatically from one school to the next or from one state to another. In some cases, drivers may not receive adequate training to navigate in bad weather, especially when snow and ice arrives, or they may not have the skills needed to navigate safely on tight roads or in heavy traffic like they may encounter throughout Atlanta. When trucking companies fail to ensure that their drivers have the skills and training necessary to navigate in those conditions, they may bear liability for any accident that occurs.
6. Mechanical Problems
Big trucks require much more extensive maintenance than the average passenger vehicle. The FMCSA lists specific maintenance requirements that trucking companies must follow to ensure that their trucks remain in solid working condition. However, some trucking companies may fail to take care of that essential maintenance. In some cases, companies may even put off fixing issues with their trucks in an effort to save money. Unfortunately, maintenance failures represent a serious problem for big trucks out on the road. Brake failures or issues with steering substantially increase the risk of an accident.
7. Driver Distraction
Because of the long hours they spend on the road, many truck drivers grow increasingly comfortable with performing other activities while driving. Even if drivers avoid checking their phones, a common distraction that influences many drivers, they may check GPS devices or even grow distracted talking on the radio with other truckers. Truck drivers may also choose to eat or drink behind the wheel to save them from having to take a break at mealtimes. All these distractions remove attention from the task of driving, which can prove particularly catastrophic for truck drivers due to the fact that they may need to react more quickly than a passenger vehicle driver to prevent a collision.
Contact an Atlanta Truck Accident Attorney After Your Accident
If you suffered injuries in a truck accident due to the negligence of a truck driver or trucking company, you need an attorney who can help you navigate the claim process and pursue the compensation you deserve. Contact an Atlanta truck accident lawyer at Cambre & Associates today to discuss your rights and determine who bears liability for your accident.