The recent horrific trucking accident which occurred on the New Jersey Turnpike, brings awareness to the dangers of sharing the roads with tractor trailers. In this most recent big rig accident, the truck driver had been driving for 24 hours straight. This is only one of the many hazards that truck drivers face, and unfortunately unsuspecting drivers can easily become a victim.
Caution is necessary, as the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) states there has been a 20% increase in tractor trailer accidents over the last two decades. Around 500,000 trucking accidents occur every year, with approximately 5,000 accidents resulting in fatalities and thousands more resulting in serious injuries. The five most common causes of truck accidents are as follows:
1) Truck Driver Error: According to the FMCSA, driver error is ten times more likely to be the cause of a crash than any other factor. Driver fatigue, distractions and substance abuse are the most common causes of driver error.
2) Weather Conditions: Weighing upwards of 80,000 pounds, a loaded semi can outweigh the average passenger vehicle by more than 25 times. This means, due to their heavy load, trucks need to increase their braking distance in bad weather. Staying apprised of local weather patterns can assist the driver’s anticipation of breaking when needed.
3) Truck Equipment Failure: Defective tires and faulty reverse lights are examples of truck equipment failures. The FMSCA requires pre-trip inspections, as well as companies to perform routine inspections and maintenance throughout the year. Ignoring these guidelines leads to accidents.
4) Improper Loading: A truck can malfunction when moving if the load is not safely configured or distributed on the trailer. Improper loading can also lead to not being safely secured, resulting in the load falling off onto roadways.
5) Truck Driver or Company Selection: Shippers need to be diligent in background checks on drivers and companies to ensure the best delivery results. They should check each are compliant with FMSCA regulations.
When driving a passenger vehicle, there are several steps you can take to help ensure safe travels when on the road with tractor trailers.
– Don’t tailgate or drive along side of trucks for too long.
– Stay visible by being aware tractor trailers have much larger blind spots.
– Leave more room for trucks to stop on wet roads.
– Use caution when merging into traffic in front of trucks.
– Pay attention to turn signals.
The attorneys at Fellows Hymowitz Rice PC. have a record of success in handling a wide range of cases including tractor trailer accidents, car accidents, serious injury & wrongful death claims. We bring the same individual commitment and dedication to each case, big or small.
If you have been injured or sustained loss in any type of accident as a result of someone else’s fault call us for a free confidential consultation at 845-639-9300.
Fellows Hymowitz Rice, PC, The Right Lawyers Make a Real Difference