Accidents involving large trucks have the potential to cause significant damages including gruesome, catastrophic injuries and fatalities. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), a vast majority of fatalities in large truck accidents involve those traveling in passenger vehicles. The main issue here is the increased vulnerability of the occupants of smaller vehicles. Large trucks such as tractor-trailers typically weigh 20 to 30 times that of passenger cars. They are also taller with greater ground clearance, which may result in smaller vehicles becoming wedged underneath the trailers (under-ride collisions).
Truck braking capability can also be a factor in truck accidents. Tractor-trailers that are loaded can take about 20 to 40 percent more distance than cars before they can come to a stop. This discrepancy is even greater on slick roadways or with brakes that are not properly maintained.
Here are the top five causes we see for major truck accidents in New York:
1. Excessive speed: When truck drivers travel over the speed limit or drive at dangerous speeds given the traffic, weather and roadway conditions, the consequences can be devastating. As we already know, large trucks require a much longer distance compared to passenger vehicles to come to a full stop. The greater the speed the longer it would take for a truck to stop.
The impact on passenger vehicles at higher speeds can also be devastating and increases the severity of the injuries for occupants of the smaller vehicles. Certain factors such as fatigued driving can also increase the likelihood of the truck driver stepping on the gas. When a large truck travels at higher speeds, it becomes much more difficult for the driver to stop in the event of a sudden slowdown in traffic ahead.
2. Driver error and carelessness: Reckless or careless driving is not just common among new or inexperienced drivers. We also see it in older or more experienced drivers. Truck drivers may speed up or drive recklessly in order to meet delivery deadlines. As a result, they may increase the likelihood of making mistakes such as straying from their lane of travel. Truck drivers might also follow other vehicles too closely, making it difficult for them to stop in time to avoid a collision.
Distracted driving is a prime example of recklessness on the part of truck drivers. Any type of distracting activity such as talking on the cell phone, texting, grooming, eating or reading while driving, can be extremely dangerous. Other examples of driver error or negligence (carelessness) include running stop signs or red lights, making unsafe lane changes and failing to yield the right of way to vehicles and pedestrians.
3. Mechanical issues: When a large truck’s tires, brakes and other parts don’t work well, there is a heightened risk of a crash. It is the duty of the truck driver to do a complete vehicle check before getting on the road every time. The truck’s owner or operator also has the legal obligation to make sure the truck is properly maintained and parts are repaired/replaced as needed before the truck hits the road.
4. Driver fatigue: Truck drivers are more prone to fatigue and exhaustion that those in other professions because of the long hours they spend driving at all hours of day. Many truck drivers sacrifice sleep because of tough delivery deadlines. However, the federal Hours of Service (HOS) rules require them to take sufficient periods of rest before they embark on their journey. Truck drivers are now required to maintain electronic logs to show that they completed the legally required HOS breaks.
5. Impaired driving: Drugs and alcohol usage are behind some of the most devastating truck accidents in New York. These types of accidents are also caused by prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications that lead to drowsiness.
How an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, or if you have lost a loved one in an auto accident caused by a negligent (careless) driver, the experienced New York personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Kenneth A. Wilhelm can help you better understand your legal rights and options, and also fight hard to recover just compensation for you.
For over 47 years, our skilled accident attorneys have established a proven track record of helping injured victims get fair compensation for their losses. Our law firm recently recovered $5,600,000 for a bicyclist who was hit by a van, and $2,550,000 for another victim of a truck accident, and $3,000,000 for a pedestrian who was hit by a car, and the full $1,000,000 insurance policy for a pedestrian who was hit by a truck, and $4,625,000 for a driver who was in a car and was hit by a van, and $2,500,000 for a man who fell through an improperly secured hole. Also, one of our clients obtained a verdict for $43,940,000 and another of our clients got a verdict for $23,500,000, both in medical malpractice cases.
Please contact us TOLL FREE 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-WORK-4-YOU (1-800-967-5496). WE CAN EVEN COME TO YOU. There is no attorneys’ fee unless we recover money for you. We can also help with personal injury and medical malpractice cases in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, or Florida. If you have been seriously injured in any of the 50 U.S. states, please call us and we will try to help you with your case.
Other TOLL FREE phone numbers for us are:
1-800-RADIO-LAW, 1-888-WYPADEK, OR 1-800-LAS-LEYES
Please visit us at: www.WORK4YOULAW.com
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