Any accident involving an automotive vehicle can be extremely dangerous, but when it comes to those involving a tractor-trailer, the stakes are often even higher. Due to their sheer weight and size (about 20 times heavier than the average passenger vehicle), these trucks are inherently more dangerous, often resulting in the death of occupants of the other passenger vehicle involved in the accident.
For this reason, an individual must obtain a special license to drive a commercial vehicle and must undergo specific training. However, despite this training, registered tractor-trailers in the U.S. account for about 500,000 accidents each year, causing about 10 percent of all traffic-related fatalities.
While the large number of fatalities that these trucks can cause is extremely upsetting, understanding what causes these accidents can help all drivers to decrease their risk of occurrence in the first place. Here are 5 common causes of tractor-trailer accidents.
1. Distracted Drivers
Commercial truck drivers – like many drivers of all kinds of vehicles – engage in non-driving related activities once they become comfortable behind the wheel. Unfortunately, what they may think is a simple act of eating or talking on the phone can quickly turn deadly. That’s why it’s so important for all drivers to keep their eyes on the road at all times.
2. Drowsy Drivers
There’s a reason as to why most states require that commercial drivers must stop and take a break from driving after they have been behind the wheel for a specific amount of time. This is because without rest and proper sleep concentration becomes very difficult. Sleep deprivation can easily lead to problems focusing and poor decision-making abilities, ultimately culminating in an accident. Commercial drivers who fail to abide by these laws can face very serious consequences.
3. Neglected Maintenance
No matter what type of vehicle you drive, it’s imperative that you stay up-to-date on proper maintenance. However, this can be even more serious for tractor-trailers and large trucks. Already inherently dangerous, a failure to properly maintain these vehicles can have deadly consequences. The owner of the truck is the one responsible for ensuring that the vehicle receives the proper maintenance in a timely manner. Those who don’t do so can be held liable for any damages caused by such negligence.
4. Manufacturing Errors
Unfortunately, sometimes errors are made that we aren’t even privy to. Manufacturing errors can result in serious accidents despite the number of precautions that owners and drivers take. When a manufacturing error, such as faulty brakes, leads to injuries or fatalities, the manufacturer can be held liable.
5. Inclement Weather
One of the most foreseeable contributors to vehicle crashes is inclement weather. Weather such as heavy rain and wind, snow, extreme cold, and heat can all negatively impact one’s ability to drive safely. For example, when it snows heavily, the roads can become slippery and therefore much harder for drivers to control their vehicles. For big rigs, this can be even harder. Therefore anyone who doesn’t have to be on the road during inclement weather should stay home, while those who have no choice but to drive should go slowly and remain cautious and attentive at all times.
Contact a Qualified Personal Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured in a tractor-trailer accident in California, it can have a major impact on just about every aspect of your life – and the lives of your loved ones. That’s why it’s in your best interest to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible.
At the Law Offices of David P. Kashani, our experienced California personal injury lawyers work strategically to help our clients obtain just compensation. When you become our client, you will have peace of mind knowing that our legal team is on your side. We will guide you through all aspects of your personal injury claim and make sure that your interests are protected. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, call us today!