Truck crashes are often far more damaging and disastrous than typical passenger car accidents. Semis and 18-wheelers can weigh 20 to 30 times more than a passenger vehicle, meaning that trucking collisions frequently result in terrible injuries and death, usually to parties other than the truck driver. Even minor driving and equipment errors can result in catastrophic damage when a big rig wrecks.
The causes of truck accidents in Bloomington range from distracted driving and fatigue, to manufacturing errors and poor loading practices. It is crucial for anyone injured in a crash to understand the root cause. With the help of a knowledgeable truck crash attorney, an injured individual could then pursue a civil lawsuit against the at-fault parties.
The Large Truck Crash Causation Study
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted the Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS) to examine the reasons for serious crashes involving large trucks (gross weight over 10,000 pounds). Each crash involved at least one large truck and resulted in a death or injury—approximately 141,000 trucks were included that were involved in fatal and injury crashes during the study period.
A critical event was the action or event that made the collision unavoidable. The three major types of critical events include:
- Running out of the traveling lane, either into another lane or off the road (32%)
- Loss of control due to going too fast for conditions, cargo shipped, vehicle system failure, poor road conditions, or other reasons (29%)
- Colliding with the rear end of another vehicle in the trucks travel lane (22%)
Hundreds of associated factors were collected for each vehicle in each crash. In assigning critical reasons for the crashes, the three major categories included driver failures (87%), vehicle issues (10%), and environment issues (3%).
Truck Driver Driving Errors
While most truckers drive safely to minimize the risks of the highway, the data clearly shows that errors in performance by the truck drivers play a critical role in a large number of serious crashes. Truckers may drive while fatigued or drowsy, fall asleep at the wheel, drive drunk or under the influence of other drugs, drive distractedly, or drive recklessly.
They can exercise poor judgment, such as driving too fast for road conditions, following other vehicles too closely, or misjudging the speed of other vehicles. Finally, the driver may panic, overcompensate, or exercise poor directional control of his vehicle. Any of these can cause serious truck accidents in Bloomington.
Poor Truck and Trailer Maintenance
Large commercial trucks drive thousands of miles every day, meaning they take a lot of wear and tear on complex systems. Truck drivers, trucking companies, and maintenance crews must all take responsibility for regular and proper maintenance of the fleet, which is required by federal regulation. Failure to maintain critical equipment, such as brake pads and tires, can cause serious crashes with terrible injuries and death.
Poor maintenance is not the only thing that can cause a failure at a critical moment. Equipment manufacturers may also be guilty of negligence during production, leading to defective or dangerous components. Parties that may be liable for defective parts in a truck wreck include the manufacturer, the parts manufacturers, the company that sold the vehicle, and installers or mechanics who made part repairs.
Improperly Loaded Cargo
There are industry specific rules for loading the bed of a commercial truck. The truckers and loading teams must abide by certain weight, size, length, width, and height limits for load, as well as special methods for securing cargo. Failure to follow rules in loading cargo and mistakes made in loading procedures are major causes of truck crashes.
When bad weather is another cause for truck accidents, it is often because the driver had poor judgment or performance. The driver might be inadequately trained and prepared to drive in certain conditions, or may fail to recognize those conditions.
Fog, rain, snow, and ice can be especially challenging for truckers, due to the heavy weight and slow stopping speeds of these massive vehicles. To avoid skidding, hydroplaning, or jackknifing, truck drivers need to travel at an appropriate speed for all conditions and know proper braking techniques.
Bad Truck Company Policies
Trucking companies may not ensure proper driver training, especially for their particular vehicles, loads, and cargoes. Of course, law requires that large truck drivers have special licensing (CDL). But that does not mean that they are all receiving adequate training for defensive driving or proper handling and safety awareness.
Furthermore, even the most well-trained drivers are often put under economic pressure to violate safety protocols and procedures. Drivers may be paid by the mile and, as a result, may feel it is necessary to drive too fast for too many hours, without adequate rest. Unrealistic schedules and expectations imposed by the trucking company may force drivers to rush, take safety shortcuts, or drive too many hours. Imposing tight deadlines may cause improper loading, fatigue, and excessive stress—all which can cause a dangerous situation that can have tragic and fatal consequences.
Seeking Help to Determine the Cause of a Truck Accident in Bloomington
There are countless causes of truck accidents in Bloomington. If you were injured in a crash, you could benefit from working with an experienced lawyer to make sure that your case is properly investigated, that all of the evidence is preserved, and that the responsible parties are brought to justice.
Without the help of a knowledgeable legal professional, you may not get the compensation you deserve. Furthermore, getting competent legal help to deal with the big truck companies and insurers will not cost you anything unless we successfully recover for you. It is important that we get started as soon as possible after the crash to preserve evidence and interview witnesses. Contact us now for a free case evaluation.