What Causes Semi-Truck Accidents?
By moving commodities along major interstate routes, commercial trucks contribute to the nation’s economy. Everyone—truck drivers and passenger cars alike—must share the road with other drivers to reach their destination safely.
When a truck driver falls asleep at the wheel, speeds, or drives with malfunctioning brakes, the consequences are sometimes fatal for other motorists. Contact a Colorado personal injury lawyer right away if you or someone you know has been gravely harmed due to a commercial truck driver’s irresponsible behavior.
The Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Truck accidents may happen for several causes, and no matter how cautiously you drive, one can happen at any moment. When a truck collides with your car on your way to the mall or on your way to work, it might turn catastrophic and affect your life forever. Here are a handful of the most common causes of truck accidents on America’s highways:
Accidents involving semi-trucks in the undercarriage
Underride collisions, also known as passenger compartment intrusion (PCI) crashes, occur when a passenger car collides with a semi-trailer. Because of the trauma that victims endure, this sort of accident is very deadly.
A semi-chassis, truck’s or underside, is taller than a passenger car’s bonnet. The trailer brakes the car windshield and enters the passenger cabin when a passenger car collides with the side of a semi-trailer.
While rear guards are required by law, there are no laws mandating side guards at this time. Even a rear impact guard may not be enough to protect you since recent highway inspections discovered many of them to be corroded and hazardous.
According to the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO), every year, around 219 people are killed in underride collisions, according to the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO).
Because of differences in how law enforcement tracks accidents, the GAO estimates that the number of collisions is underreported. The GAO recently issued the following recommendations to the US Department of Transportation:
Creating a standardized underride crash definition
Create data boxes on accident report forms for underride accidents;
Train law enforcement on how to detect underride crashes
Research side underride guards and establish yearly inspection standards for rear impact guards.
Advocates for side underride guards work persistently to enhance highway safety via federal legislation. Unless such rules are enacted, all drivers are in danger of severe injury, and tighter inspection requirements for rear impact guards are implemented.
Distracted Driving Causes Semi-Truck Accidents
New technology benefits truck drivers while also distracting them from their driving. Personal cellphones and navigational gadgets, and in-cab fleet management and communication systems may distract attention away from the road.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), distracted driving involves three basic components: visual, manual, and cognitive. Any action that draws your attention away from the road, your hands away from the wheel, or your head away from driving is hazardous and frequently fatal. A distracted truck driver may ruin your life forever by causing devastating injuries that need lifelong treatment.
Semi-truck Rear-End Collisions
To stop a fully loaded semi-truck driving at 65 miles per hour under optimum circumstances takes 525 feet. That’s about the size of two football fields. It takes twice as long for a passenger car to come to a full stop at the same speed.
Air brakes are used on semi-trucks instead of hydraulic brakes, which are far quicker at stopping an car. When a truck driver applies the brakes, air must build up and reach all car parts, causing lag time. Semi-trucks with neglected brakes may have a full braking failure, resulting in a near-certain rear-end collision during rush-hour traffic.
Accidents involving semi-trucks and speeding
The impact and severity of your injuries are determined by the speed at which a truck collides with your car. According to Road Safe America, an 80,000-pound semi-truck moving 70 miles per hour exerts the same force as a car traveling 361 miles per hour. A semi-truck colliding with your car may cause severe injuries and perhaps death because of the rapid and intense collision.
Truck driving is a job where the income is based on the number of miles traveled rather than an hourly rate or wage. One of the numerous hazards that some truckers take to get to their destination quicker is speeding. Returning to their families or starting another run are both motivators for this dangerous activity.
Tired truck drivers are more likely to cause an accident.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is in charge of the trucking industry’s Hours-of-Service Regulations. Truckers are only allowed to drive for 14 hours every day. Truckers must stop for at least a half-hour during that time.
Adults need 7-9 hours of sleep every night, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Due to the deterioration of a driver’s judgment and response time.
One out of every ten drivers has fallen asleep behind the wheel in the last year
One out of every eight collisions necessitates hospitalization due to drowsy driving
Drowsy driving causes one out of every six fatal traffic accidents.
Even though electronic logging devices (ELDs) are required, tired truck drivers continue to take risks. With over three million truck drivers in the United States, you’re likely to run across one who is sleep-deprived every time you travel.
Driving While Intoxicated (DUI)
The blood alcohol content (BAC) threshold for commercial truck drivers set by the FMCSA is 0.04 percent. The federal limit, which is lower for commercial drivers than the 0.08 established by many states for ordinary drivers, is followed by most states.
Truck safety groups and government politicians are working to reform speed and hours limits in the trucking industry. Many cars, for example, have speed-limiting equipment, and legislation to restrict truck speeds to 60 mph is in the works.
Allowing exceptions to the half-hour break rules is one of the government’s other efforts. No matter what legislation is passed or how many rules are in place, truck drivers who drive carelessly continue to endanger you and your loved ones.
After a Truck Accident, What Should You Do?
A startling and disturbing event is a sudden and forceful impact. The most critical initial step is to get medical help right away. Take photographs of the situation and get the contact information of witnesses if possible.
If you are unable to do so due to your injuries, enlist the assistance of a witness. Having the foresight to gather evidence such as phone numbers and photographs might substantially aid your case later.
Do not communicate with the truck driver. While it is doubtful that they would approach you, their livelihood is on the line. They may try to communicate with you if they are unharmed. Only communicate with officers of the law and witnesses who are ready to assist you.
Several physicians and medical professionals will enter your room after you have been admitted to the hospital. Your primary goal is keeping track of your medical information and reconnecting with your family. During the first several days after your accident, aggressive insurance salespeople may attempt to contact you. Your best line of action is to call a personal injury lawyer instead of speaking with them.
Injuries Involved in Truck Accidents
You may discover that your life has altered forever once a medical team reviews your injuries. The sheer power of a semi-hit truck’s may cause one or more of the major injuries listed below:
Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
According to the CDC, a TBI is defined as a bump, blow, jolt to the head, or a penetrating head injury, that causes normal brain function to be disrupted. A severe TBI may cause problems with cognitive and physical function and changes in behavior and emotions. A person who has had a severe TBI may never be the same again, and severe TBI patients often need lifelong care.
Spinal cord injury
The spinal cord is responsible for sending and receiving information about sensation and movement to and from the brain. Complete and incomplete spinal cord injuries are the two forms of spinal cord injuries. There is no feeling or movement below the area of damage in a total spinal cord injury.
An incomplete spinal cord injury implies that sensation and movement are restricted below the place of damage. Paralysis occurs due to spinal cord injury, necessitating the use of motorized chairs for patient movement. Other requirements include potential chair adaptations in the house and car modifications or an accessible car that can accept a power chair.
With over 200 bones in the human body, there’s a good possibility one or more may be broken in a truck crash. Breaking a bone in your leg or arm may make it difficult to do simple chores. Broken bones in the neck or back may need further operations and physical rehabilitation.
Injuries to the inside
Injury that isn’t apparent to the human eye is particularly hazardous. It is for this reason that you should seek medical help even if you are feeling good. Only lab work and diagnostic tests can discover interior damage such as internal bleeding. After an accident, always err on the side of caution and go to the hospital.
A Truck Accident Attorney Can Assist You
Truck drivers play an important role in the transportation of products. Negligence occurs when a truck driver prioritizes his immediate requirements above his concern for the safety of others. No one should be subjected to bodily, financial, or emotional harm due to a truck driver’s dangerous actions.
All Colorado drivers must drive safely. A driver’s license in Colorado is a privilege, not a right. A business driver’s license is the same way (CDL). A truck driver must follow the rules and laws that come with a CDL. Losing their CDL has an influence on their job as well as their capacity to support their family.
When a truck driver fails to operate a commercial car properly, it might jeopardize your life and job. When a careless truck driver collides with your car, your life and that of your family will never be the same. Due to no fault of your own, you may suffer a job loss, hefty medical expenditures, and damaged relationships.
You should not communicate with insurance reps due to the uncertainty of your future. Likely, their settlement offer won’t be enough to pay your future medical expenses and lost income. Their primary concern is not with you but with their bottom line.
It’s crucial not to accept anything less than your full potential. Truck accident attorneys are familiar with the anxiety that their clients have due to their injuries and financial prospects. It is unreasonable and unfair to suffer significant injuries as a result of an irresponsible truck driver. You’ll want an attorney who will fight hard for you and isn’t afraid to go to trial if he or she can’t achieve a fair settlement.
Reach out to a truck accident lawyer immediately to fight for the justice you deserve. Depending on the circumstances, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your medical expenditures, missed earnings, and pain and suffering.
Don’t waste any time; time is of the essence. The sooner a truck accident lawyer examines your case, the sooner he or she can advise you on the best line of action. It takes time to gather evidence and question witnesses, as well as to negotiate effectively. Act as soon as possible before the statute of limitations runs out.