Truck Driver Errors
No one can deny that truck drivers have a difficult job. Long hours, fatigue and isolation are par for the course. All motorists make mistakes that cause accidents, but when truck drivers make mistakes, they’re much more dangerous because they involve huge semi-trucks or 18-wheelers, and these vehicles more often than not, cause deadly accidents. This is why it is especially important for truck drivers to drive carefully and cautiously at all times.
Truck driver errors are caused by a plethora of reasons:
- Distractions such as texting, eating, etc.
- Driver fatigue and hours of service
- Changing lanes without signaling
- Illicit drug or alcohol use
- Cargo not properly secured
- Overloading a truck with excessive cargo
- Failing to perform necessary maintenance
- Inexperience/improper training
- Unfamiliarity with area
- Inclement weather
In March 2006, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration performed an in-depth study of large truck crash and causation. According to NHTSA’s estimate, there were approximately 120,000 fatal and injury crashes nationwide during the 33-month study period that involved at least one large truck; 141,000 large trucks were involved in those crashes.
Although there are many other factors, the number one cause of trucking accidents is driver errors. Driver errors certainly can be prevented. Many truck drivers are distracted, tired, inattentive, or just careless and do not follow the rules mandated for all motorists or specifically for truck drivers. Some truck drivers are also taking prescription or other drugs or have been drinking alcohol. These habits impair judgment and cause drivers to take unnecessary risks that can lead to fatal accidents.
If you’re involved in an accident with a truck driver, it’s important to know your legal rights and to act quickly to prove your case because valuable data can be lost. Many companies use electronic data recorders that record information about the truck, such as how fast it was traveling, patterns of speed, braking instances and length of time on the road. These devices, as well as other electronic devices such as GPS, on-board computers and on-board cameras, are regularly erased and recorded over, so it’s imperative to act quickly so that precious data can be preserved and used to prove your case.
In addition to collecting data from the accident, you should also investigate the conduct of the driver and the driver’s employer. Sometimes the trucking company should be held responsible for hiring an incompetent or impaired driver or for allowing (or even requiring) drivers to work too many hours during their shift, or not allowing sufficient time off for rest in between shifts.What should you do if you’re involved in an accident with a truck driver?
- Remain at the site. Do not remove your damaged vehicle.
- Report the accident by calling 911 and request an ambulance if anyone has been hurt.
- Notify your insurance carrier and do not say anything to any other insurance agents who may be at the scene.
- Write down the license plate number of the truck that hit you. Gather any and all information you can about them and their employer. Also don’t be afraid to reach out to witnesses and take down their personal details as well.
- Use your cell phone or camera to take pictures of your vehicle, the truck and the accident scene.
- See a doctor for any injuries you’ve sustained.
- Contact a personal injury lawyer.
Being involved in an accident in which a truck driver was negligent can be stressful, to say the least, if not life-changing, depending on your injuries. Aside from pain and suffering, accidents can cause hardships and financial loss for the whole family. Drivers and truck companies should be held responsible for reckless or negligent behaviors. If you need advice and would like to speak with one of our experienced Miami truck accident lawyers, please call us toll free at 877-448-8585 we’d be happy to assist you!