The sheer size of trucks alone can impact accidents much more severely than standard car accidents. Trucks can weigh as much as 35,000 pounds empty or up to 80,000 with a full load. This means that even if insignificant fender benders, the impacts of the damages and injuries caused can be much more significant. Combine that with excessive speeds, distracted driving, or poor road conditions, and the results can be devastating.
Truck Accident Statistics
According to the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, an accident occurred nearly every four minutes in recent years. A fatal collision occurs every nine hours or so, and injuries occur from collisions every sixteen minutes. These statistics are staggering if you think about how much time you spend on the road in a week.
Common Causes for Truck Accidents
Several factors lead to truck accidents all across the United States. Some of the most common are listed below.
Fatigue is one of the leading causes of truck accidents. As a result, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration was formed to enforce guidelines. According to their website, their main priority is “regulating and providing safety oversight of commercial motor vehicles.” their mission is to “reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities.” One of how they achieve this is by regulating the hours of service drivers can operate. By cutting the hours back, they can manage the overall fatigue of drivers, which leads to several injuries and fatalities.
Driving while intoxicated isn’t just for standard vehicles. Unfortunately, driving while drunk or otherwise intoxicated is also an issue for truck driver operators and leads to accidents across our country almost daily.
Like driving while intoxicated, distracted or reckless driving is also an issue for truck drivers, significant speeding, careless driving, or being distracted through various means can lead to devastating circumstances.
Insufficient truck maintenance is also a leading cause of accidents. Drivers are required to complete daily inspections on their trucks and trailers. If there is an issue, they must address it and document how they repaired the problem.
Poor loading of cargo can also create issues quickly during transport. For example, if you slam on your brakes, you may notice that items in your car or trunk may shift. If you are a truck driver with a full load in a trailer and that entire load shifts, it can cause the driver to lose control quickly or roll, causing a severe accident.
External Factors That Lead to Truck Accidents
In addition to accidents caused by the driver, several external factors can lead to truck accidents.
Road conditions or bad weather are leading causes for trucks to get into accidents. When there is that much weight behind the vehicle, if they must quickly adjust for ice, rain, or other road issues, they may not have time to correct their vehicle and avoid an accident.
Poor training of drivers is another apparent issue. Companies that hire drivers must be responsible for the training they require and ensure it is effective. There are much higher stakes when driving a truck, trailer, or other commercial vehicle than with standard cars.
Schedules or time constraints can easily lead to accidents as well. Federal mandates ensure drivers aren’t speeding or covering too many miles a day; this can help this issue. However, some companies will push for an unrealistic timeline, forcing the driver to continue to operate even after fatigue, or travel at unsafe speeds to ensure the timeline is met.
What To Do If You’re In an Accident
If you can move your vehicle to safety and out of the roadway, this is beneficial to your safety and the safety of others. If there are injuries, seek medical attention immediately.
Contact the police to report the accident. This allows them to show up on the scene and ensures that a neutral third party creates a report stating the facts of the accident.
Take pictures or videos of the accident scene, vehicle damage, and roadway conditions, if possible. Reach out to those around you to see if there are eyewitnesses you can request contact information from should you ask them questions in the future.
Report the necessary details to your insurance company and contact an experienced attorney for further guidance. There are mistakes you can avoid that can help you to pursue damages in the future, and a trust attorney can help you navigate this stressful situation.
Your Personal Injury Attorney, Your Tireless Advocate
It is important to note that South Carolina is a fault state. What this means is that whoever is responsible for the accident occurring, they will be liable for the damages caused. This is also why it is imperative that you don’t inadvertently assume fault for the accident, as it could cause your insurance company to rush to a settlement far less than what you deserve. Skilled in negotiations, litigation, and legal guidance, your personal injury attorney can be your strongest advocate following an accident.
Contact our office at (803) 219-8870 to learn how we can best help you to navigate a stressful situation. Don’t settle for even a penny less than you deserve. Let our determination and experience assist you in pursuing the necessary damages so you can put the accident behind you and move forward with your life.