There are a lot of potential reasons why a truck accident occurs. The cargo could have been negligently loaded, and the truck jackknifed due to a sudden weight shift. The tires may have been faulty, and the driver lost control on a wet or icy road as a result. There are accidents that can take place due to factors out of the driver’s control. However, in most cases, trucker behaviors that are dangerous play some role in causing truck accidents.
The attorneys with Penn Kestner & McEwen will be here for you if you’ve suffered a severe injury due to dangerous and negligent trucker behavior. We have extensive experience in these kinds of cases, and we also have a long history of delivering favorable results for our clients. You can contact us online whenever you like, or you can give us a call at (800) 732-3070 to schedule a free consultation.
The following are just a few examples of driver negligence that can have horrible results.
Speeding is a Common Dangerous Trucker Move
This is one of the most common reasons why a truck driver will get into an accident. An 80,000-pound commercial truck is dangerous enough, even when it’s going the speed limit. When it’s going too fast, the dangers get exponentially higher. It doesn’t take much for a speeding truck to suddenly veer out of control, destroying anything in its path.
Texting or Talking on the Phone While Driving
Whenever truck drivers do something wrong behind the wheel, that mistake is magnified, simply due to the fact that commercial trucks are so much larger than a passenger vehicle. So, when a trucker decides that talking or texting is more important than keeping their focus on the road, they could very well cost someone their life in the process.
Driving While Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs
It’s almost inconceivable that someone would knowingly take the helm of a huge truck while impaired, whether that impairment is due to alcohol or drugs. It doesn’t take much of an imagination to see how tragically that decision could be – not only for anyone unfortunate to be in that driver’s path, but the driver as well.
The prevalence of impaired driving among truckers is alarmingly high. About 30% of drivers responding to a study actually admitted they were on amphetamines while operating their rig. Many drivers will do this in an effort to stay awake so they can meet a deadline. But when that drug wears off, they can immediately become so fatigued there’s no way they can drive safely.
Driving While Fatigued
Fatigue is another common cause of accidents involving commercial trucks. Most people don’t realize how demanding the job of driving a truck may be. Truckers routinely spend double-digit hours behind the wheel without any breaks – which is a violation of federal regulations, as you’ll see in the next section. They feel they have to do this because they’re often under unrealistic deadlines. When they do, the results can be terrible.
Breaking Trucking Regulations
There are lots of federal regulations that truck drivers – as well as trucking companies, for that matter – break on a regular basis. The one broken most often is the hours of service rule, established by the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA). This is a brief look at what drivers have to do in order to reduce the chances of driving while fatigued.
- They can’t be behind the wheel for 11 consecutive hours, and can be on duty for more than 14 consecutive hours.
- If a driver is on duty for 60 hours during a seven-day consecutive stretch, that’s a violation of FMCSA rules.
- They have to rest for no less than 10 hours before starting the next shift.
Truck driving is such a grueling profession that companies are finding it harder than ever to find qualified drivers. Many of the best ones have retired, and it’s difficult to find younger people who want to take on this type of job.
But the demands on the trucking industry are slowing down. Businesses need cargo delivered, and they need it on time. Millions – maybe billions – of dollars are at stake. Trucking companies will do just about anything to protect their profits, even if that means putting someone behind the wheel who doesn’t have the required skills to drive safely.
A huge commercial truck can be very complex. Unqualified drivers can easily make a mistake that could have devastating consequences.
How to Prove a Truck Driver’s Negligence
If you’ve suffered an injury due to trucker negligence or dangerous acts, the more evidence that can be uncovered on your behalf, the better the chances you’ll obtain the compensation you deserve. If it’s safe to do so, you can take pictures of the accident scene, or speak with eyewitnesses and get their contact information.
But there are other things an attorney can do to gather evidence on your behalf. These are things the average citizen would find it incredibly difficult – if not impossible – to do.
For example, your legal representative can obtain the “black box” data from the truck. This is a device that, much like the one on a commercial airplane, contains data that can show proof of how an accident occurred. It can, for instance, show if the driver applied the brakes before the wreck, the speed at which the truck was traveling, and much more.
An attorney can also obtain logbooks and inspection records. A logbook can show whether or not a driver was in violation of the hours of service rule. Inspection records can provide details as to how long before the collision the truck underwent maintenance.
Call Penn Kestner & McEwen to Schedule a Free Truck Accident Case Evaluation
The truck accident attorneys with Penn Kestner & McEwen will fight for your rights and work to help you get all the compensation you have coming to you. Call (800) 732-3070 or use our online contact form for a free review of your case.