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Truck Accidents

Truck AccidentsWhen a trucker is behind the wheel of a tractor trailer weighing 10,000 pounds or more, safety demands that the driver stay alert and drive within the speed limits. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. The reality is that thousands of semi truck accidents result from driver inattention, fatigue and speeding.

Commercial trucks are substantially larger and heavier than passenger vehicles. The disparity in size means that truck accidents are often fatal or cause serious injury to those in passenger cars who are involved in collisions with them. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), for example, reports that 3,757 people died in large truck accidents in the U.S. in 2011. Truck occupants accounted for just 635 of those deaths, while 2,695 occupants of other vehicles and 427 non-occupants died.  Nationally, this means large trucks were involved in 8.2 percent of the country’s total fatal crashes. In Rhode Island during this same time period, large trucks were involved in 1.2 percent of all fatal wrecks on state roads.

Drivers of large trucks and other vehicles involved in truck crashes are 10 times more likely to be the cause of the crash than other factors, such as weather or road conditions, according to a three-year study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

According to the federal study, these are the top 10 factors, in descending order, that were present at the time of truck crashes in the study.

Top Accident Factors

  1. Brake problems
  2. Traffic flow interruption (congestion, previous crash)
  3. Prescription drug use
  4. Traveling too fast for conditions
  5. Unfamiliarity with roadway
  6. Roadway problems
  7. Required to stop before crash (traffic control device, crosswalk)
  8. Over-the-counter drug use
  9. Inadequate surveillance
  10. Fatigue.

The study also found that some crashes stemmed from the failure to properly maintain trucks, especially the brakes, result in catastrophic rear end collisions. In some instances drivers reported being pressured to meet deadlines. That may have led to unsafe driving practices, such as speeding, which put other motorists at risk.

If you are injured in an accident with a commercial truck, you should consult an attorney who has extensive experience arguing trucking negligence claims. These cases can be complex and require thorough investigation. Trucking companies are only required to keep their records for a short period of time. Trucking company representatives may approach accident victims while they are still in shock or confused about their options – and obtain statements that can later be used as a defense to legal claims.

The attorneys at Gemma Law Associates, Inc. have worked on many trucking negligence cases, and we are familiar with the tactics used by trucking companies and their insurance carriers to avoid paying damages. We know how to investigate these cases properly to ensure no evidence is lost, and we believe that trucking companies should be held accountable when their negligent practices cause pain and suffering or wrongful death.

If you’ve suffered a serious personal injury due to trucking negligence, contact Gemma Law Associates, Inc. toll free or submit an online contact form. We’ve been helping clients in Rhode Island for more than 45 years – and we can help you.

For More Information

2011 Motor Vehicle Crashes: Overview, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

State Traffic Data, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration