Every driver understands the trepidation when a large tractor-trailer pulls alongside him or her on the highway. The massive size and poor maneuverability of these vehicles can easily create a sense of unease, and smart drivers do their best to maintain a safe distance on the road.
Unfortunately, accidents involving trucks are all too common on our roadways. In the United States, there were more than 3,600 deaths that resulted from accidents involving large trucks in 2014. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), the vast majority of those deaths were people in cars (68%), or motorcyclists, cyclists, or pedestrians (15%).
Drivers and passengers in smaller vehicles are especially vulnerable during collisions with tractor-trailers. Trucks can weigh as much as 30 times more than passenger cars and because trucks are so much further off the ground, smaller vehicles can suffer from underriding during a crash. Complicating matters are the much longer braking distances and the long driving hours that can cause truck drivers to suffer from fatigue and reduced response time.
The two main causes of accidents involving trucks are driver error and equipment failure, both of which trucks are more susceptible to than cars. As mentioned above, commercial drivers are tasked with driving long distances and long hours. And while federal rules govern exactly how long a driver can be on the road, these restrictions aren’t always followed. It is estimated that 88 percent of truck accidents are the result of error by the driver of the truck.
Tractor-trailers are also more prone to equipment failure. Because of their size and miles driven, trucks frequently suffer from punctured tires, transmission failure, brake malfunction, and improper trailer attachment.
When accidents involving trucks occur, determining negligence is often more difficult than with car accidents. This is mainly due to the fact that commercial operators are involved, adding a layer of liability and inserting outside parties with a vested interest. You’ve also got to account for the cargo company, as sometimes trucks get overloaded, making them more dangerous to drive. This is in addition to the insurance companies from all sides. Figuring out what exactly happened and who is to blame can be difficult even in the best of circumstances.
If you’ve been involved in a truck accident, trying to determine who is at fault requires a dedicated team that has your best interests at heart. The compassionate and experienced Dallas truck accident lawyers at The Law Office of WT Johnson can help you secure justice. To learn more about your legal rights and have all your options explained to you in a clear and trustworthy manner, call us today for a free consultation. We can be reached at (800) 738-4045.