Michael A. Shammas is an experienced truck accident lawyer who has recovered millions for injured victims. Recognized as one of the top truck accident attorneys in Illinois, Michael A. Shammas understands how to succeed against the various companies involved in a particular shipment that lead to a client’s injuries.
Trucking accidents are different from car accidents in many ways. Truckers are professional drivers, and they are regulated by the Federal Government. They require a commercial driver’s license and must undergo training on operating loaded and unloaded semi tractor-trailers. Truck drivers are required to understand the Federal Regulations that apply to their driving. Additionally, the same applies to the trucking company and the other entities that share roles in the distribution chain.
Negligent truck drivers can cause serious injuries as a result of a semi-truck crash. If you have been injured, call Michael A. Shammas at 312-971-5959 to recover damages.
Truck Accidents Pose Higher Risk of Serious Injuries
Ordinary drivers, pedestrians, and motorcyclists are the most vulnerable parties when involved in a commercial truck accident. In 2018, 67% of deaths resulting from trucking accidents were occupants of passenger vehicles involved. Pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcycle riders made up another 15% of deaths from these accidents.
Due to the sheer size and lack of maneuverability, driving a large semi-truck requires a high level of training and concentration while on the road. Unfortunately, many truckers suffer from fatigue due to long workdays and driving beyond the hour-limitations set by the Federal regulations. Additionally, truckers may struggle to see cars in the many blind spots of the vehicle, resulting in collisions. In bad weather, a commercial vehicle is usually more difficult to maneuver.
Causes of Truck Accidents
Truck accidents can happen for a number of reasons. Sometimes one factor causes a crash, other times multiple factors can contribute to a crash. Many of these accidents result in death or serious injury to the other party involved. Common factors contributing to trucking accidents are substance use, fatigue, overtaking & speeding, poor training or maintenance, and distracted driving.
Truck drivers are often overworked and, as a result, drive while fatigued. There are Federal Rules that limit the number of hours a trucker can drive in a given time period. However, many drivers go over the limit to make tight deadlines. An overtired trucker may experience impaired judgment, slow reaction times, and an inability to stay alert. In some cases, a driver may fall asleep behind the wheel.
Poor Driver Training
Truck drivers are professionals. Driving a commercial vehicle requires a CDL and many hours of training. A trucking company is responsible for screening potential employees to make sure all drivers are fit for the job. However, when drivers are improperly trained they are more likely to be a problem on the road.
Cell phone use is a leading cause of distracted driving. Although truckers are usually not allowed to use cell phones while driving, many ignore these regulations to kill boredom on long drives. When a driver takes his or her eyes off of the road at highway speeds for just a few seconds, the vehicle can travel the length of a football field. Combined with the weight of a commercial truck, this can be especially dangerous.
Improper Loading of Cargo
There are several rules, regulations, and industry practices that deal with how items should be loaded onto trucks for shipments. Usually, the truck driver is not involved in the loading and unloading of the truck. Sometimes the trucker has the responsibility to make sure that the cargo is loaded properly, but oftentimes the trucker does not have access to check, and the responsibility is with another company. Improper loading cases are usually seen when a tractor-trailer overturns.
Overtaking & Speeding
The pressure to meet tight deadlines may influence commercial truck drivers to drive above the speed limit. Often, this can lead to the driver forcing other cars off of the road while overtaking them. These reckless driving behaviors can become increasingly dangerous when combined with fatigue or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Drug & Alcohol Use
Recreational drug and alcohol use while driving can impair a driver’s ability to remain alert and careful while on the road. Though companies may uphold a zero-tolerance policy, the legal BAC limit for operating a commercial vehicle is .04%. At that level, a driver is likely to experience reduced dexterity and hand-eye coordination, as well as impaired judgment.
Who Is Responsible in a Truck Accident?
Determining who is responsible for a truck accident depends upon the circumstances of the crash. Of course, the driver may be the reason for a crash. However, there may be several responsible parties that each contributed in some way to the crash. Examples of responsible parties include the driver, the transportation company, the shipping company, the broker of the shipment, and the company responsible for loading the truck. The trucking company may be liable if unsafe policies or expectations are upheld, or hiring and training practices are negligent.