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.

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