There are lots of different kinds of dangerous commercial trucks on the road, of course. But none of them are more hazardous than a dump truck. Not only is it huge, it also typically moves very slowly when it’s on a highway, forcing drivers to get around it if they want to travel at a decent speed. When a dump truck driver violates trucking regulations, such as driving while fatigued or under the influence of alcohol or drugs, that makes matters even worse.
You shouldn’t have to pay money out of your pocket if you’re injured in an accident caused by a negligent dump truck driver. That’s why hiring a lawyer should be one of the first things on your to-do list. At Penn Kestner & McEwen, we have a team of attorneys who know how to investigate truck accidents, and pinpoint all potentially liable parties. When you turn to our firm, you can rest assured that we’ll do everything we possibly can to help you get the compensation you deserve.
How Common are Dump Truck Accidents?
Even though truck drivers know they’re at the helm of incredibly large machines that can do a lot of damage, they continue to commit acts of negligence that put others at risk. Dump truck accidents occur far more frequently than you may realize.
The last year statistics for dump truck accidents are available is 2016. That year alone, there were more than 8,200 accidents that were so severe the truck had to be towed from the scene. These accidents resulted in more than 5,400 injuries.
Why are Dump Truck Accidents so Dangerous?
Dump trucks come in many forms. The one you’re probably most familiar with is the garbage truck that rolls down your street or alley each week. But there are several others as well. These include transfer trucks, winter vehicles, semi-trailer dump end vehicles and others.
All of these trucks have characteristics that make them a potential safety hazard. It doesn’t help that the trucking industry in general has a critical shortage of qualified drivers. These are just a few of the features that make a dump truck especially dangerous.
- Height. A dump truck sits much higher off of the ground than the typical truck. When the back of the vehicle moves up so the truck can dump its load, that can increase the risk of a potentially fatal underride accident. This occurs when a passenger car slides under the truck, often collapsing the top of the car.
- Weight. Like just about all commercial vehicles, dump trucks weigh several tons. They often carry so much weight that they are very difficult to maneuver, and also hard to stop. A dump truck is so heavy it can easily crush a passenger vehicle.
- Blind spots. The average commercial truck has significant blind spots. Those on a dump truck are even larger. Drivers usually can’t see behind them very well as a result. These issues can increase the chances of an accident.
- Packs of trucks. There are a lot of times where several dump trucks will be dispatched to a jobsite at the same time. They’ll travel in “packs” on a highway as a result. Since they take up so much space, these packs can easily cause accidents.
- Merging. You’ve probably seen a “trucks entering highway” sign at one time or another. Those usually indicate that dump trucks are about to get on the road. Even though the driver of a dump truck is supposed to yield to oncoming traffic, that sometimes doesn’t happen. The end result can oftentimes be a serious accident.
How to Drive Safely Around Dump Trucks
It can be incredibly frustrating to have to share the road with one dump truck, much less several of them. But trying to overtake them can often be an incredibly risky proposition. You’ll be much better off being patient – it could very well make the difference between getting to your destination safely (even if it takes longer than you planned) and suffering a severe accident.
These are just a few tips to keep in mind.
- Always remember that dump trucks have huge blind spots. If you can’t see the driver in their side-view mirror, then they can’t see you. This will be especially important if you have a small vehicle.
- Dump trucks also need plenty of room to turn – much more than the typical passenger vehicle. If you spot one of these vehicles trying to take a corner, stay as far away as you can. The driver may be going too fast, and the truck could roll over as a result.
- Finally, dump trucks – like all huge trucks – need a lot of room to stop. Leave as much room as you can between you and a dump truck just in case the driver has to suddenly hit the brakes.
What to Do If You’re Involved in an Accident with a Dump Truck
There are a lot of steps you will need to take if you are hit by a mammoth dump truck. Here are a few of the most important ones.
- Call 9-1-1 immediately, even if you don’t think you’ve been seriously injured.
- Call the police so an officer can come out to investigate, and to file a report.
- Get the truck driver’s contact information, and write down the name of the company that owns the vehicle.
- Take pictures of the accident scene if possible, paying close attention to vehicle damage and skid marks.
- Contact an attorney as soon as possible so they can start an investigation on your behalf. This could prove to be a huge help when it comes to obtaining compensation for your damages, or accident-related financial losses.
Contact Penn Kestner & McEwen Today
There are a lot of reasons you’ll need a truck accident lawyer. There are just as many reasons why you should choose Penn Kestner & McEwen. We’re experts in helping our clients get the money they deserve when they suffer harm due to the negligence of a truck driver. Our attorneys will be here to answer any questions you may have, and to provide the skilled legal representation you need.