Common Causes of Tractor-Trailer Accidents
According to official statistics published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2012, there were 3,921 people killed and 104,000 people injured in crashes involving large tractor-trailers (i.e. vehicles whose gross vehicle weight rating is greater than 10,000 pounds). Big rigs and tractor trailers were also said to be more likely to be involved in a fatal multiple-vehicle accidents, as opposed to fatal single-vehicle crashes when compared to smaller passenger vehicles (81% of fatal crashes involving large trucks involved multiple vehicles, compared with 58% for fatal crashes involving passenger vehicles). Florida ranked third in the data charts, contributing to an alarming 5.1% of the total tractor trailer accidents in the United States, followed closely by Georgia, at 3.9%.
What are the common reasons behind these awful, horrific trucking accidents that claim thousands of innocent lives? Here are a few:
- Prescription/over-the-counter drug use – Big rig truck drivers spend hours on the road trying to meet tight deadlines to deliver truck cargo. Those who are under the influence of drugs pose a serious threat to other drivers, as well as to themselves. A powerful prescription drug may delay reflexes and response timings resulting in a potentially deadly collision.
- Speeding – As mentioned, some tractor-trailer operators are trying to meet tight deadlines, which creates an incentive to violate posted speed limits. If a trucking wreck occurs, one of the first pieces of evidence an experienced truck accident injury lawyer should demand access to is the black-box that most big rigs are equipped with containing valuable information about the speed and other details at the time of the crash.
- Aggressive driving – Commonly called “road rage”, aggressive driving like reckless tailgating or deliberately cutting off the passage of a fellow driver can result in a deadly crash if the enraged driver is operating a massive big rig.
- Faulty trucking equipment – Underinflated tires or defective brakes on tractor-trailers can result in tractor-trailers that are essentially ticking time bombs on public roads and highways.
- Driver fatigue and errors – Drowsiness and fatigue can slow down a tractor-trailer operator’s reflexes resulting in poor decisions, like driving too fast or too close, or wrongly estimating the flow of traffic. Failure to control the direction of the tractor trailer in a timely fashion often results in horrific crashes claiming innocent lives.
- Violation of service requirement hours – Strict compliance rules have been laid down for a commercial truck driver’s hours of service (HOS) by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. However, many tractor-trailer operators enter incorrect log data and drive for more hours than is legally permissible in order to earn extra cash, without thinking about the effect that it might have on the driver’s biological cycle, and consequently, on his driving.
Speak to an Experienced Truck Accident Injury Lawyer Today
Gillette Law, P.A. is centrally located to serve injured clients in Florida and Georgia. The helpful professional staff is available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and at other times by appointment. Reach out to us today if you have been injured in a truck accident. Our Jacksonville personal injury lawyers are happy to assist you as soon as possible.