LONGVIEW, Texas. Every year, thousands of people are injured and killed due to big rig accidents. Large trucks pose unique hazards to passenger vehicle drivers and their passengers when they are involved in accidents. Trucks carry heavier loads, sometimes carry hazardous materials, and are much larger than regular passenger vehicles. Many of these accidents are highly preventable. The Cooper Law Firm in Texas is a big rig accident lawyer in Longview, Texas who helps victims of truck accidents seek a recovery from trucking companies when these companies fail to abide by federal regulations or engage in negligent practices. What are the leading causes of truck accidents and what can drivers do to protect themselves? Here are a few leading causes of truck accidents:
- Fatigue: Fatigue is a major contributing factor in many truck accidents. Studies have shown that driving while drowsy can be just as deadly as driving while drunk. Accordingly, the government imposes strict limits on the number of hours truck drivers can work in a given day. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires drivers and companies to log their hours and take regular breaks. Unfortunately, many drivers fail to take breaks when they are required to do so, with tragic results. Other drivers may go as far as to falsify their logs. Driving at night or in the early morning makes it more likely you’ll share the road with fatigued drivers. If you or a loved one was injured due to the actions of a fatigued driver, you may be entitled to seek a recovery under the law. Visit the semi truck accident lawyers at the Cooper Law Firm today at cooper-law-firm.com to learn more.
- Drinking. Drinking and driving is another cause of truck accidents. Drug use can affect a driver’s judgment behind the wheel. Sometimes drivers use prescription drugs, resulting in delayed reaction times or drowsiness, which can lead to accidents. Truck companies are required to properly vet drivers and test their drivers for drug or alcohol use. However, sometimes companies fail to properly check their drivers for history of alcohol abuse, prescription drug use, and addiction issues.
- Speeding. Speed kills. When trucks speed, the risk is greater because trucks are larger and carry much larger loads than the vehicles surrounding them.
- Critical Events. According to “The Large Truck Causation Study” performed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, three types of critical events usually precede a truck accident. In 32% of large truck accidents, truck drivers ran out of roadway when lanes merged or ended. In 29% of accidents, drivers lost control of their vehicles due to speeding or traveling too fast for conditions. Loss of control could also occur due to vehicle failure. Finally, in 22% of accidents, trucks rear-ended another vehicle.
Many of the critical events tied to truck accidents are highly preventable. Fatigue can affect a driver’s reaction time and ability to merge to a proper lane. Improper maintenance of a truck can result in loss of control. Speeding and other failures on the driver’s part can lead to serious accidents. While many drivers are hard-working and safe, some drivers are pressured by their companies to speed or break the law in order to meet demanding shipping schedules. When trucking companies put their bottom lines above individual safety, tragedies happen. Semi truck lawyers like the Cooper Law Firm hold drivers and companies responsible when they break the law, and help victims and families seek the justice they may deserve.