Most semi-truck accidents are caused by avoidable driver errors, according to the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA). These errors include driving while fatigued and driving while impaired.
Semi-trucks are enormous vehicles. This means that they can wreak havoc when they’re involved in an accident, causing injury and considerable property damage. This is why it is so important for drivers to possess proper training and adhere to the rules and regulations that apply.
Semi-Truck Accident Causes
Semi-truck accident causes have several causes, from negligence to unsafe driving behaviors. Knowing these causes can make you more aware on the road and keep you safe from potential accidents.
Pinning down the exact number of drowsy driving accidents is difficult. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) notes that this problem is on the rise due to several factors, including:
- Longer work commutes
- Emphasis on long-work hours
- The rise of technology interfering with our sleep cycles
- The use of prescription drugs that cause drowsiness
To reduce the frequency of drowsy driving accidents, the FMCSA regulates the number of hours truckers can drive before taking take a break. Property-carrying truckers must follow these rules:
- After 11 hours of driving, a trucker must take a 10-hour off-duty break
- After 8 hours of driving, a trucker must take a 30-minute break
While these regulations likely reduce drowsy driving accidents, it’s still possible that some truckers violate rules. Therefore, it’s best to remain alert when driving on commercial routes—the only thing you can control on the road is your adherence to safe driving practices.
Unsafe Driving Practices
Unsafe driving practices, also known as negligent driving, involve semi-truck drivers ignoring the rules of the road. Violating these rules puts other drivers at risk, sometimes leading to accidents. Common unsafe driving practices include:
- Not using turn signals
- Drifting into oncoming lanes
- Talking on the phone while driving
- Distracted driving
- Not slowing down during tight turns
- Falling to use chains while driving in snowy conditions
Ideally, unsafe driving behaviors would be corrected during employee training. However, it’s still possible for unsafe semi-truck drivers to slip through the cracks and begin roadway service. A lack of experience or education can cause a trucker to make poor decisions on the road.
Drunk or Inebriated Driving
Drunk or inebriated driving is another potential cause of semi-truck accidents. Drinking or using drunks reduces a driver’s reaction time, making them more susceptible to mistakes.
To reduce the occurrence of semi-truck accidents involving drugs or alcohol, the FMCSA imposes strict regulations on commercial carriers. These regulations require that employers randomly test employees who use commercial driving licenses (CDLs) throughout the year.
Other instances where a test is required are reasonable suspicion of drug and alcohol use and after a crash.
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Types of Semi-Truck Accidents
There are numerous types of semi-truck accidents, including the following:
- Rollovers: Semi-trucks are top-heavy vehicles. If they take a turn too quickly, they run the risk of flipping over. In the event of a rollover, drivers behind the flipped semi-truck can become involved in an accident.
- Over or under-correcting on narrow highways: Semi-truck driving requires interstate transportation, meaning truckers aren’t just exposed to well-maintained multi-lane freeways; they must contend with narrow highways, too. An over or under-correction on a narrow roadway can send a semi-truck through the guardrails or into an oncoming lane of traffic.
- Fender bender: Semi-trucks don’t just travel through rural areas, though. Light and medium trucks are frequently involved in rear-end accidents in urban areas.
- Running a red light: This type of accident also applies to light and medium trucks in urban areas. When a truck runs a red light, it’s more likely to cause an accident due to its size.
The previously mentioned semi-truck accident causes can lead to these types of accidents. For example, a driver who’s speeding is more likely to be involved in a roll-over or turn-over-correction.
What Should I Do After a Semi-Truck Accident?
If a semi-truck caused your car accident, you have several options, including the following:
- Use your own insurance to receive coverage for your losses
- File an insurance claim with the insurer of the driver who caused your accident
- File a lawsuit against the driver who caused your accident
Georgia adheres to a legal theory known as vicarious liability. Under this law, you can sue an employer for the negligent behavior of their employees.
For example, if a semi-truck driver was drinking before causing your accident, you could have a case against their employer. Remember, though, in any lawsuit, you must prove that another party’s negligence caused your injuries.
Semi-Truck Accident Damages
Semi-truck accident survivors have the right to pursue the following types of damages:
- Lost wages
- Medical expenses
- Wrongful death damages
- Property damage
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
Securing these damages accomplishes two goals. First, it helps survivors recover from their injuries without going into debt. Second, it holds the responsible party accountable for their negligent behavior.
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Work With a Truck Accident Lawyer Today
At Bader Scott Injury Lawyers, we’ve secured millions of dollars in compensation for our clients. We’re caring but tenacious – we want you to feel comfortable while we hold those responsible for your injuries accountable.
For a free case evaluation, contact our offices today. We can discuss the specifics of your semi-truck accident and build a plan for pursuing fair compensation.
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