There are many potential causes of truck accidents. Truck accidents caused by commercial truck drivers commonly involve:
Truck driver fatigue
Truck driver fatigue is one of the most common causes of truck accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. A fatigued truck driver or a trucker who has fallen asleep behind the wheel can cause a devastating accident, resulting in serious, life-altering injuries.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which regulates the trucking industry, has hours-of-service rules that outline how long drivers can work without taking a break. These rules exist since some truck drivers try to drive long hours so they can make more money. Trucking companies will also put pressure on drivers to disregard these rules so that the goods are delivered faster.
These dangerous practices put everyone at risk. In some cases, truck drivers fall asleep at the wheel due to medication or alcohol consumption.
Distracted driving is another common cause of truck accidents, especially since smartphone usage has become widespread. Some studies have suggested that texting while driving is as dangerous as drunk driving.
The government has barred commercial truck drivers from using handheld cellphones. All truck drivers should instead use the hands-free mode when using a phone while driving.
Distracted driving isn’t limited to talking and texting on the phone. Other sources of distraction for truck drivers are fiddling with the radio, eating, using a GPS, and anything else that takes their attention away from driving.
Driving under the influence
As we all know, it is illegal to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In Louisiana, commercial truck drivers are held to a higher standard than the public. While Louisiana’s limit is 0.08 percent BAC when driving a non-commercial vehicle, the blood alcohol level at which a CDL driver in a commercial vehicle can be arrested is 0.04 percent.
This is because the size and weight of an 18-wheeler make them an inherent danger to others on the road. Truck drivers who operate while under the influence of drugs or alcohol pose an extreme danger to themselves and everyone else on the road.
Whether turning right or left, a commercial truck has to make a wider turn than a passenger vehicle due to its length, size, and limited turning radius. This does not, however, give a truck driver the right to turn as wide as they wish and cross other lanes of traffic. Truck drivers must still remain in their lane of traffic when turning and exercise due care for others on the road. Failure to do so can result in a serious accident.
Other Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Additional causes of truck accidents include:
If cargo being hauled by a commercial truck is not properly secured, it can move as its weight shifts and cause the truck driver to lose control of the vehicle. It can even cause a rollover accident. If unsecured cargo falls or is spilled from a commercial motor vehicle, it can hit other vehicles on the roadway or cause them to crash as they swerve to avoid spilled cargo. A hazardous material spill may lead to environmental damage as well as personal injury.
Failing to secure loads
Commercial trucks in Baton Rouge and throughout Louisiana are often hauling trailers that are full of loads. No matter the size and weight of the load, this product needs to be properly packed and secured, so the weight is distributed properly across the truck. Failure to properly distribute the weight increases the risk that a truck will cause an accident. This is particularly true when turning or trying to stop. When cargo is not properly tied down or stored, it can fly off the trailer and into the path of another vehicle, causing a serious crash.
Low-filled liquid loads
Many tractor-trailer trucks are designed to transport liquids, such as oil and gasoline. These tanks can hold a set amount of liquid before they are full. However, leaving the tank partially full can be dangerous. If a trailer is less than three-quarters full, the liquid can splash around inside the trailer and cause the truck to sway back and forth, especially when the truck turns or accelerates. A sudden movement from the liquid can cause the truck driver to lose control of the vehicle, resulting in an accident.
Jackknife accidents usually occur when the rear wheels of a tractor-trailer lock up, sending the rig spinning out of control. Worn tires, speeding, and sudden braking can contribute to a jackknife accident.
Defective truck parts
If an operating component or safety system of a commercial truck fails, the truck may simply break down or suddenly be out of control. The FMCSA has specific regulations addressing systematic inspection, repair, and maintenance of trucks and numerous truck parts and systems. If a truck’s brakes, tires, steering, or suspension fails, it could be because of neglected maintenance or a faulty product.
Truck Accidents Caused by Passenger Vehicle Drivers
Not every accident is caused by a truck driver. Sometimes the passenger vehicle driver makes an error that causes a crash.
Common unsafe acts committed by car drivers that often result in truck accidents include:
- Driving in the “No-Zones,” a truck driver’s blind spots
- Changing lanes abruptly in front of a truck.
- Moving to the right of a truck that is turning right
- Misjudging an approaching truck’s speed at an intersection, then making a left turn in front of the truck
- Driving in between two or more trucks
- Merging from an on-ramp or moving into traffic from the shoulder without enough acceleration in front of an oncoming truck
- Failure to slow down or accelerate when a truck begins to change lanes or merge
- Unsafe passing
How Our Baton Rouge Trucking Accident Lawyer Can Help
The Baton Rouge truck accident attorneys at Tomeny | Best Injury Lawyers have extensive experience representing truck accident victims in Louisiana. We know exactly how to build a strong case for you and seek the full and fair compensation you deserve.
Some of the ways our Baton Rouge truck accident lawyers can help include:
- Collecting relevant evidence. Our experienced Baton Rouge truck accident lawyers know how to collect important evidence about a truck crash. The evidence collected can help determine who the liable parties are. With truck accident cases, there is often complicated data and other intricate factors that arise. Your lawyer will be able to make sense of all the highly technical evidence in ways that a layperson cannot.
- Identifying damages. Many accident victims do not realize the full extent of the damages they have suffered. The truck accident lawyers at Tomeny | Best Injury Lawyers are committed to conducting a thorough investigation of how your losses affect you and your family. We will fight seek compensation for all the damages you have endured.
- Negotiating with insurance companies. Our skilled Baton Rouge truck accident attorneys can handle all communications and negotiations with the insurers. We have the knowledge, skills, and resources needed to negotiate with trucking companies on your behalf to settle your claim. We also have litigation experience, so, if necessary, we won’t hesitate to take your truck accident case to court and fight for the justice and compensation you deserve.