The trucks that we all share the road with are many, many times larger than our own vehicles and, as such, pose a serious threat when it comes to accidents. Because of their immense size, semi-trucks lack maneuverability. This makes them more difficult to operate safely and, therefore, more prone to accidents. Every time you get behind the wheel, remember the increased risk posed by commercial trucks on our roadways and make driving safely your top priority.
Commercial Driver Regulations
Truck drivers are commercial drivers and they are thus held to more stringent rules and regulations at both the state and federal levels than other motorists:
- Enhanced standards for obtaining licensure for commercial drivers
- More stringent restrictions associated with driving under the influence
- Comprehensive safety standards for trucking companies and their drivers—including components that address truck driver’s health
- Strict regulations related to transporting hazardous materials
While overarching safety standards regulate the trucking industry and impose serious penalties for violations, it remains a hectic business with extremely tight timetables. Such schedules can push truckers to engage in driving practices that go beyond the scope of safe trucking.
Any accident that involves a semi-truck has the potential to cause significant financial, emotional, and physical consequences. If you or someone you care about was injured in a Macon, Georgia, truck accident, consult with an experienced truck accident attorney. The dedicated legal team at Hasner Law has the experience and compassion to aggressively advocate for your rights and for your rightful compensation after an accident and injuries.
The Prevalence of Truck Accidents
In our ever-growing and bustling economy, semi-trucks play an essential role: transporting the consumer goods that help keep our lives running smoothly. As consumer demand grows, the number of commercial trucks on our highways and byways also grows. The statistics associated with the ever-burgeoning trucking industry are sobering:
- In 2015, truck-accident fatalities rose by 22 percent from the fatality rate in 2009
- In 2015, only 3 percent of truck-accident fatalities were truck-cab occupants—occupants of the other vehicles involved in accidents are far more likely to die
- In 2015, 11 percent of all traffic fatalities involved 18-wheelers
Because of their immense size, the big rigs that are commonplace on highways pose significant risks. Nevertheless, there are safety mechanisms that—when properly implemented—help make the trucking industry safer overall. The primary safety factor is the truck drivers themselves. Well-trained, experienced, engaged, focused, and well-rested truckers are safer drivers who are better able to effectively monitor the condition of the roads and the roadworthiness of their rigs as they travel. Semi-trucks maintained in accordance with all safety standards is another critical safety element. Finally, careful management of the trucking companies themselves can ensure that safety remains the industry’s top priority.
Because each of these safety factors is so critical, let’s examine them more closely:
Truck drivers – Truck drivers man the massive semis on our roads, and as such are at the front line of helping to maintain a safer trucking industry. Truckers are charged with moving giant loads of cargo across our nation—while adhering to restrictive schedules that closely correlate with their monetary bottom lines. This combination can lead truckers to cut safety corners and make poor driving decisions. Due to the long hours they spend behind the wheel, many truckers lead unhealthily sedentary lifestyles that—when combined with the stress of their hectic schedules—can contribute to unsafe trucking practices.
Trucking companies – Trucking companies are responsible for their fleets, and this includes incorporating adequate safety inspections, maintenance, and repairs. To maintain safe, roadworthy fleets, trucking companies must keep comprehensive and overarching safety mechanisms in place. Companies are also responsible for the proper hiring and supervision of drivers.
Semi-Trucks – Semi-trucks are complex machines that can prove extremely dangerous when they malfunction in any capacity. Three major truck components commonly contribute to truck accidents:
Tires – Tires connect vehicles to the road and are, therefore, elemental to safety. An 18-wheeler’s tires that are not in optimal condition can pose a significant danger to everyone on the road. A defective tire can render a semi much more difficult to control and lead to a serious accident.
Brakes – Safe brakes are critical to safe driving—regardless of the vehicle. Semi-trucks have intricate braking systems that necessitate careful attention and regular maintenance to remain in safe working order.
Coupling devices – The truck bed of a commercial truck is connected to its cab by a vitally important coupling device. Failure to safely maintain that device can lead to a deadly accident. Again, regular safety inspections and maintenance are critical.
Ultimately, all involved parties must share the responsibility of building a safer trucking industry, including the truck drivers, the trucking companies, the manufacturers of trucks and truck parts, and the truck mechanics.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Accidents happen, including to trucks. In the trucking industry, several common factors commonly contribute to such accidents:
- Trucker negligence – Because truckers often put in long hours in the face of extreme schedules, they are more prone to exhausted and/or distracted driving, which means that they are more likely to engage in dangerous driving practices.
- Blind spots – With massive trucks come massive blind spots, or no zones, for the truckers who man them. Truckers can neither see nor accommodate for the vehicles that drive within their blind spots.
- Cargo-load balance – Due to their massive sizes, 18-wheelers must tow balanced cargo loads or face dangerous load-balance issues that can exacerbate the danger inherent in accidents.
Work with an Experienced Macon, Georgia, Truck Accident Attorney
Truck accidents are harrowing, and truck accident claims are complicated. Your rights and your rightful compensation as an accident victim matter, however, and the experienced truck accident lawyers at Hasner Law are here to help. We have the skill, knowledge, and compassion to guide your claim toward its most just resolution, so please contact us online or call our office at 855-888-4878 for a free initial consultation today.