Though the weight restrictions on commercial vehicles vary from state to state, under federal guidelines, a semi or 18-wheeler can carry up to 80,000 pounds. When a truck carrying that much weight collides with a passenger vehicle, the consequences can be devastating. Unfortunately, it happens way too often, and for a variety of reasons.
DRIVER ERROR OR NEGLIGENCE
The most common cause of truck accidents involves wrongful conduct by the operator of a big rig. In a study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, more than one in four truck accidents were tied to the improper use of prescription or illegal drugs, and almost as many resulted from the use of unreasonable or excessive speed. Other factors that played a significant role in truck accidents included:
- Failure to check all sides of the truck before changing lanes, turning or making other maneuvers
- Lack of familiarity with the road, leading to excessive speed or sudden braking
- Driving while distracted, either by handheld devices, such as phones or stereos, or by external stimuli, including accidents, road work and billboards
- Failure to properly use turn signals
- Overly aggressive driving, including road rage
VIOLATION OF TRUCKING REGULATIONS
Because of concerns about the safety of tractor-trailers and other commercial vehicles, state and federal legislatures have enacted regulations, requiring that drivers and their companies keep accurate maintenance logs, and that they track the amount of time a driver and a truck are on the road. To minimize the risk of driver fatigue, federal law requires a certain number of breaks, and prohibits drivers and trucks from being on the road for too many hours continuously, or within a certain time period.
The unfortunate reality is that many drivers, out of a desire to maximize profits, ignore or flaunt the trucking regulations. Approximately one in seven trucking accidents involves driver fatigue.
CONTACT THE LAW OFFICES OF MALLON & TRANGER
To learn how we can help you when you have suffered an injury in a truck accident, contact us online or call us at 732-702-0333 . There is no charge for your first meeting. We have offices in Freehold and Point Pleasant.