Tractor-trailers are a very important part of the U.S. economy and transportation network. These large vehicles haul billions of dollars’ worth of cargo across the country every year and travel more miles than most typical passenger vehicles. While tractor-trailers are undeniably important to countless U.S. businesses and consumers, it’s vital for all drivers to recognize the inherent dangers posed by these large vehicles.
A fully loaded tractor trailer can weigh about 80,000 pounds and stand up to 14 feet high. Tractor-trailers are also longer and more unwieldly than smaller, more maneuverable passenger cars. It’s important for trucking companies to ensure employee safety, comply with Department of Transportation (DOT) and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations, and maintain proper vehicle upkeep to prevent accidents. Failure to do so could result in liability for damages to other drivers.
Causes of Trucking Accidents
Tractor-trailers are taller and sit higher off the ground than typical cars, making them more susceptible to tip-overs and rollovers. A strong wind can sometimes be enough to roll over a truck with an empty trailer, as can taking a sharp turn at high speed. Trucking companies must ensure their drivers have adequate training and experience to handle their routes, and drivers must operate their vehicles responsibly.
Some of the most common causes of tractor-trailer accidents include:
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Driving while fatigued
- Aggressive driving maneuvers
- Cornering, or taking turns at high speed
- Jackknifing (This term describes a truck’s trailer swinging out to one side while the truck section continues forward.)
- Unbalanced/unsecured cargo
- Road hazards like potholes, debris, or construction areas
- Defective vehicle parts
- Poor truck maintenance
Truck drivers face enormous pressure to complete their deliveries on time, and some choose to stay awake longer by using stimulants or alcohol. Some simply drive for too long without adequate rest, allowing fatigue to manifest. Driving under the influence is dangerous for any driver, and the danger increases exponentially when the driver is operating a massive tractor-trailer. Drivers who engage in driving under the influence, driving while fatigued, reckless driving, speeding, or dangerous maneuvers put other drivers at risk and will likely be liable for the accidents they cause.
If a trucking company failed to properly vet a driver, did not perform adequate vehicle upkeep, or otherwise failed in its obligations as a business, the company can be liable for an accident. A defective truck part could lead to a product liability claim against the manufacturer.
Find Reliable Legal Counsel
If you or a loved one has recently suffered injuries and other damages from a trucking accident in the Roswell, GA, area, contact Kaufman Law, P.C. today for a free case evaluation. Our attorneys have more than 40 years of experience helping our clients in Georgia secure compensation for their personal injury claims, and we know what it takes to win a trucking accident case. We can help secure compensation for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, property damage, and any lost income from time you missed at work. When injuries are caused by trucking accidents, it’s vital to hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions. We can help.