What Causes a Trucking Accident?
Any kind of crash or collision is unexpected and there are very few precautions you can take to avoid one. After all, you have no control over the way the other driver is operating their vehicle. As difficult as these situations are, however, they are made even more daunting when you consider a crash with a large commercial truck. These large trucks are prominent on roads and highways because they are crucial in delivering goods and products from state to state. When something goes wrong, however, and there is a potential for danger, you may be shocked and looking for answers.
Because they can cause serious injuries, commercial trucks are often subject to lawsuits after a collision. When a lawsuit comes up involving trucking collisions, one of the biggest factors involved is what caused the crash. In terms of truck crashes, this is usually more difficult because it can involve a number of parties and liability may be placed on multiple people. This brings up many questions, but it is important for individuals — whether they have been involved in a crash with a commercial truck or not — to know what causes a truck accident and the impact that can come as a result.
Overloaded & Improperly Loaded Trucks
Regulations set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), commercial trucks are restricted to a maximum weight limit. This limit includes the weight of the truck itself, as well as the trailer and whatever is being transported. Because of these regulations, the trailer must be loaded properly, within the weight limit. Furthermore, the trailer must also be loaded evenly so one side is not heavier than the other or it is not frontloaded. If the trailer is not loaded properly or within the weight restrictions, it could potentially cause a serious crash.
Because these trucks travel different types of roads — steep hills and sharp turns — and overloaded truck can cause the truck to either turnover on a sharp turn or make it difficult for the truck to stop going downhill. It can also make it tougher on the truck to go uphill, causing a strain on the hitch and potentially breaking. Overloaded trucks can also jackknife if the driver must hit the brakes all of a sudden. Similarly, if the trailer is loaded heavier on one side, there is a high potential for a turnover crash, and any vehicle that is nearby can be involved, resulting in serious injuries.
Not all problems stem from the trucking company or its employees. Unfortunately, there are times when things are set to go wrong before the truck even leaves for its destination. This is because some manufacturers of the parts that go on the trucks may be negligent in their inspections and safety protocols that they put parts on vehicles even when they have not been tested. If these items fail, it can cause the truck to lose control or disconnect from the trailer, which can lead to a serious collision.
Some of the most common defective parts on a commercial truck include the brakes, tires, trailer hitch, seatbelts, airbags, and more. For instance, if the trucks brakes fail as it is going downhill, this will make it difficult or impossible to stop, and the vehicles in front of the truck can be struck as a result. Also, if the tires have a defect and blow out, it can cause the entire truck to lose control, often resulting in a jackknife, overturn, or other kind of collision.
Failure to Maintain / Inspect
Before the truck leaves for delivery, it must go through inspection to make sure all parts are adequate and the truck is working correctly, with no problems. If there is a problem, the truck should be pulled out of use until the issue is fixed. Because some new parts can be defective, these inspections must be conducted before the truck leaves every time to ensure the safety of the driver and others on the road. If no inspection is performed and a crash occurs due to something breaking down, the person responsible for the inspection and the trucking company can be held accountable.
Much like inspection must occur, maintenance is very important for the truck. The trucking company is expected to make sure all parts on the truck are safe on a regular basis. As soon as something is noticeably wrong and has been identified, the owner must take action to fix the issue prior to letting it go out for its next delivery. Maintenance is important to make sure the brakes, engine, transmission, hitch, tires, and other important components are good to go.
Fatigue / Drunk / Distracted Driver
For truck drivers, they have the same laws on the road, but for them, violations of these can have much greater consequences due to the size of the truck. Because of this, it is absolutely critical that truck drivers do not operate their trucks while drunk, tired, or distracted. Distracted driving includes using a cell phone while driving, messing with the radio, eating or drinking, or simply looking away from the road for an extended period of time. Obviously, distracted and drunk driving can result in a serious crash and are illegal. Fatigued driving is also a violation of FMSCA regulations that limit how long a truck driver can work consecutively before taking a break.
Baltimore Truck Accident Attorneys
If you have been harmed in a crash involving a large commercial truck, it is important to take swift legal action and speak with a lawyer. You may be able to file a lawsuit against the liable party, but having a lawyer on your side can help you determine exactly who is accountable and what kind of damages you can seek. At Murphy, Falcon & Murphy, our team of Baltimore truck accident lawyers can work with you to help you formulate a case strategy designed around helping you secure the outcome you desire.To discuss your potential case with a skilled and experienced attorney, we encourage you to call our firm and speak with us today.