Employer Negligence Resulting in Truck Malfunction

The enormous size of big rigs or 18-wheelers, more commonly known as freight trucks, is enough to make this type of vehicles threats on the road and, considering the fact that truck drivers usually drive for about 11 hours a day, many thoughts connected to road safety come into play. Thoughts, such as the possibility of drivers feeling fatigued, as well as their skills and qualification before being allowed to drive one; it is assumed, of course, that trucks are regularly checked and maintained to make sure that these are in perfect operating condition.

For many truck drivers, eleven hours of driving with very short rest periods is normal work. Due to this very tough and demanding task, a type of training, which will develop and further improve applicant and experienced drivers’ skills in operating a truck, and passing a test set by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), in order to earn a commercial vehicle license, are strictly required by the Commercial Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 1986.

Despite federal laws and programs aimed at eliminating, or substantially reducing, at least, accidents involving trucks, the US Department of Transportation, through two of its agencies, namely the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), records close to 4,000 deaths and more than 70,000 injuries resulting from the more than half a million truck accidents every year.

Though these may be alarming figures (but not as alarming as the statistics for car accidents, definitely), there is a more surprising study which shows that close to 80% of the (more than half a million truck) accidents are fault of drivers of passenger vehicles rather than of truck drivers.

Some of these faults include a passenger vehicle: crossing the center line and driving into a truck’s path, resulting to head-on collision; side-swiping a truck that is going in the same direction or heading the opposite direction; turning across a truck’s path; and, rear-ending a truck.

There are many other causes why trucks accidents happen, of course, like a driver losing control due to tire blowout or brake problems, worn-out tires, defective brakes or other truck parts, poorly maintained road, poor weather condition, driver fatigue, driving too fast for road conditions, cargo not properly distributed inside the truck, prescription drug intoxication, and so forth.

There are more than three million trucks drivers employed in the US and millions of them drive their trucks all across the US every day. Besides federal laws that mandate trucking firms to make sure that their drivers are trained, skilled and not overworked, there are also laws which require these firms to conduct regular inspection, repair and maintenance of their trucks, and keep records of these maintenance jobs ready for government inspection.

The website of the Portale Law Firm points out the importance of regular repair and maintenance, as failure to do so automatically increases risks of accidents due to mechanical defects or malfunction.

Truck accidents almost always have disastrous results. Though studies may show that most of these accidents are due to errors committed by drivers of passenger vehicles, there may be clues that will prove otherwise.

I-80 Trucking Accidents in Wyoming

Wyoming, known officially as the Equality State and also the Cowboy State, is a land of mountain ranges and prairies and is considered the second least densely populated state in the US. However, because of its central location, it is intersected by many interstate highways including Interstate 80 or I-80, which runs from California to New Jersey. I-80 runs through 400 miles of Wyoming, and along that stretch, large trucks (with gross vehicle weight ratings of over 10,000 pounds) routinely pass as they transport goods from coast to coast. However, the number of truck accidents that occur on US roads are unfortunately also routine.

In 2011, more than 270,000 large truck accidents occurred, including 3,341 fatal ones where 3,757 people were killed 60,000 non-fatal ones where 88,000 people were injured. Translated, that is about 56 people killed every day and 9 people injured every hour because of truck accidents. In Wyoming, the constant passage of these big trucks on relatively empty highways can mean truck accidents if the driver is over-fatigued or distracted. And in an encounter with a large truck, it results all too often in serious injury and death to a third party.

Trucking company employees are required to have a special license in order to operate the massive vehicles they are employed to drive. With this special license and larger vehicle come greater responsibility to the other drivers on the road. According to this Wyoming truck accident lawyer website, truckers need to be incredibly careful on the job, as their rigs can be incredibly dangerous to other drivers. 18-wheelers have various blind spots and if someone is in the wrong place at the wrong time, they can suffer serious injuries.

Difficulties for Truck Drivers

One of the most common causes of truck accidents for long-haul drivers is fatigue. It is common practice for commercial trucking companies to ignore safety regulations regarding the number of hours a commercial truck driver can drive at a stretch (hours-of-service or HOS). After all, the more miles a driver operates, the more money the company and driver earns. If an accident occurs because the driver falls asleep at the wheel or is inattentive, and it is proved that there was a willful violation of HOS rules, this is a clear case of negligence. It can render both the driver and the trucking company liable for any injuries or deaths that result from this type of violation.

You can be sure that the insurance company providing cover for the defendants will pull out all the stops to fight violation penalties. Otherwise, they will have to pay for the claim.  If you or a family member is a victim of negligence in a truck accident, consult with a Wyoming lawyer experienced in dealing with personal injury claims against negligent truck drivers, trucking companies and their insurance companies.

If you have been hurt in a truck accident due to someone else’s negligence, make sure that you are justly compensated by contacting an experienced personal injury lawyer. An attorney will be able to guide you through the appropriate steps to justice.

Preventing Truck Accidents

According to reports, 1.2 million people die from road accidents every year. Because motorists share the same roads as commercial truck drivers, when these vehicles collide severe injuries and damages are to be expected. The sad part of these truck accidents is that they can be easily prevented with proper and defensive driving practices. This means always being aware of your surroundings while driving and working to mitigate dangerous situations before they become true hazards.

According to the website of Pohl Berk, distracted driving is among the leading causes of road accidents. A distracted driver is someone whose attention to the road and to driving the vehicle is diverted, often to answer the phone, text, to eat, or to do other things. Based on reports from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 80 percent of fatal road accidents and 65 percent of near-accidents involve distracted driving. This means that 80 percent of accidents that ended in fatalities could have possibly been prevented if all drivers had been paying more attention to the road. It only takes three seconds of distraction to cause a major accident. Because of this, law enforcements have been prompted to strongly pursue and ticket distracted drivers.

Being a commercial truck driver, this new policy can be hard to keep up with, particularly with the long hours of work (which can cause stress, fatigue, and sleepiness), and the needed constant communication with the headquarters. Truck drivers carry a lot of burden, which is why to help combat this problem the use of Bluetooth devices have been endorsed. Devices such as the Bluetooth headset help in keeping the truck drivers attention on the road while answering any communication calls.

Bluetooth technology works by having wireless devices communicate through short-range. This wireless technology enables hands-free headsets, a very beneficial innovation for truck drivers who uses hand-held radios for communication. With a Bluetooth headset, drivers can keep both hands (and their attention) on the road while answering calls.

The Williams Kherkher Lawyers advise that defensive driving is always very important when motorists are on the road, however, responsible driving (such as avoiding alcohol or distractions) are just as important. Driving like a professional can really save lives, if not yours. Road safety has been a major concern for a very long time, and it’s about time everyone takes responsibility in their driving.