Truck Accidents Caused by Driver Error
Many trucking accidents are caused by errors on the part of truck drivers. Commercial truck drivers who are drowsy, distracted, speeding, or otherwise negligent can cause serious damage in crashes with smaller passenger vehicles. If you’ve been injured in a wreck caused by a negligent driver, you need to speak with a truck accident attorney as soon as possible. Schedule your free initial consultation with Brooks Law now to learn about your legal rights.
Common Causes of Truck Driver Errors
There are a number of behaviors that can lead a driver to cause an accident. These include:
- Driver fatigue. Drivers are held to tight timetables for their deliveries. Sometimes that means they keep pushing themselves when it’s past time for them to take a break. Fatigue dulls a driver’s senses and reaction times. If a driver is tired enough, he or she may even fall asleep at the wheel.
- Distracted driving. Distracted driving is just as dangerous (if not more) for truck drivers as it is for drivers of passenger cars. Texting while driving, making a phone call, adjusting the music, and other distractions take a truck driver’s focus away from where it needs to be.
- Speeding. Speeding semis strike with much more force than cars going at equivalent speeds. Speeding also makes it harder for drivers to notice sudden hazards in their path and stop in time.
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Driving while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs clouds drivers’ judgment. It also makes it harder for them to react to hazards. Alcohol and drugs can exacerbate other factors like driver fatigue, making an accident more likely.
- Aggressive driving. Aggressive driving behaviors like following other cars too closely and taking turns too quickly can lead to accidents. Semis need additional time to stop because of their size and weight. Going around a turn too quickly can cause an unstable load of cargo to shift, causing the trailer to tip over.
- Unsafe lane changes. If a truck driver changes lanes without allowing for enough time and space to maneuver safely, the truck can collide with another vehicle.
- Failure to check blind spots. Semis have large blind spots because of the long trailers they tow behind them. A careless truck driver may sideswipe another vehicle in a blind spot if the driver doesn’t take the time to do a proper check.
- Untrained or inexperienced drivers. Semis are large, heavy vehicles that require special care and training to handle properly. However, some companies may hire inexperienced or untrained drivers who don’t have the necessary skills to handle their vehicles safely.
Who May Be to Blame Besides the Driver?
The truck driver may not be the sole party responsible for your accident, even if their actions are mostly to blame. Keeping a truck operating safely on the road requires a coordinated effort from the driver, the trucking company, and many other parties. Depending on the circumstances of your accident, here are a few other parties that may bear some responsibility for what happened:
- The truck driver’s employer. It’s up to the employer to make sure drivers are trained and qualified. Trucking companies also must ensure drivers aren’t pushing themselves beyond the point where they can handle their vehicles safely. If the trucking company didn’t uphold its responsibilities, it can be held liable for damages.
- The truck manufacturer. Trucks are complicated machines. Each part has to work correctly to keep the truck driver and others safe. If the brakes fail or another crucial part doesn’t function properly, the truck manufacturer can be held accountable for their role in the resulting crash.
- Other product manufacturer. Maybe there was a defect with the truck’s tires, hydraulics, or some other component not made by the company that built the truck itself. If so, the parts manufacturer can also be held liable in an accident claim.
- Maintenance workers. Regular maintenance is essential to keeping a truck in proper working order. Sloppy or irregular maintenance work can make it harder for a driver to control the vehicle in an emergency.
This is not an exhaustive list of parties that could be to blame for your accident. An attorney from our firm will thoroughly investigate your case to give you more complete information on who could be liable.
Evidence We May Use to Show Driver Error
Some of the evidence we might use to document your case includes:
- Photos and videos from the scene of the crash
- Police reports and other law enforcement documents
- Witness interviews
- Navigational data from the truck’s black box recorder
- Driver logs
- Training manuals and records
- Employer policy documents
- Vehicle maintenance records