The federal government recently released a preliminary estimate that the number of people killed in trucking accidents will rise by 3 percent in 2018 over 2017.
If that estimate holds, more than 4,900 people will have died in commercial truck wrecks in 2018. It will also mark the fifth year in a row that truck crash deaths rose in this country. Between 2016 and 2017 alone, the number of people killed in accidents involving a commercial truck jumped 9 percent.
Clearly, catastrophic crashes caused by big rigs are growing threats that should be prevented. But what can you do if you or a loved one is a victim of a serious tractor-trailer accident?
Investigating large truck crashes can be a complicated matter. These accidents can involve a number of negligent parties based on their carelessness. And trucking companies typically look out for their own self-interests rather than being fair to victims.
Therefore, those who have been seriously hurt or who had a family member killed by a commercial truck should contact an attorney experienced in representing truck accident victims. That attorney can conduct a detailed investigation to uncover who caused the fatal accident, and why.
Driver Error Number One Cause of Fatal Truck Crashes
According to the federal government’s Large Truck Causation Study, human error is the number one cause of deadly big rig crashes. One contributing factor to a truck driver’s error is often fatigue. Most over-the-road truckers are paid by the mile, so the more they drive in a short amount of time, the more money they stand to make.
This can lead to truckers who are too tired to drive safely. There are federal laws that limit the number of hours a trucker can drive per day and week, and also mandate rest periods. So an important investigative step a truck accident attorney will take is to determine whether or not the trucker was supposed to be resting rather than on the road and most likely dangerously tired -when the accident occurred.
Drug and Alcohol Testing of Truckers Following a Crash
Truckers under the influence of drugs or alcohol are a menace to others. In cases of serious commercial truck crashes, truckers must be tested for illegal drugs or alcohol. Crashes that require drug and alcohol testing for truckers include:
· Commercial truck accidents that have a fatality
· A victim requires medical treatment away from the scene and the trucker is issued a citation
· The trucker receives a citation and a vehicle involved must be towed away
Following one of these scenarios, a truck accident attorney will pursue the test results to determine if drug or alcohol use played a role in the truck crash.
Improperly maintained trucks are also a leading cause of fatal semi crashes. It’s the responsibility of truck drivers and trucking companies to make sure their rigs are always operating safely and are properly prepared for the road.
Unsafe trucks are not a small problem. Last year the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance conducted more than 35,000 roadside inspections of commercial trucks over a three-day period. About 14 percent of the trucks were found with brakes so dangerously defective that they were taken off the road for immediate repairs.
A truck accident attorney will also pursue the repair and maintenance records for the truck and trucking company involved in a serious crash. Any questionable findings may point to responsibility for the crash.
These are just a few of the many possible contributing factors in serous truck crashes – those involving catastrophic injuries or fatalities. As deaths in trucking accidents continue to climb, so too does the need for lawyers to hold truck drivers and trucking companies accountable for their negligence.
If you or a family member was a victim of a commercial truck crash, turn to an experienced truck accident attorney to thoroughly investigate and pursue your legal rights to just compensation.
The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.
Authored by Gray, Ritter & Graham, P.C., posted in Articles June 28, 2019