There’s no doubt that 18-wheelers play an important role in the economy. Tractor-trailers transport a huge percent of the freight in the U.S. However, accidents involving big rigs and other vehicles occur more than they should. Consult with an attorney if you’re a victim of such an accident.
Why are 18-Wheeler Accidents So Dangerous
Big rig accidents are dangerous simply because of the size of the truck. A fully-loaded tractor-trailer weighs 80,000 pounds while a passenger car weighs around 4,000 pounds. It’s easy to see that the persons in the car could be hurt severely. Victims need to speak to an 18 wheeler accident attorney. Cases involving big rigs are handled differently from other vehicle accidents. There can be more than one party at fault. Indeed, the trucking company is frequently liable.
The Buck Stops With the Trucking Company
Trucking companies tried to avoid liability for accidents in the past. A company owns the permits for the trucks in its fleet. However, they’d try to get around liability by saying the drivers were owners/operators. This was despite the fact the company’s name was painted all over the truck. Recent federal laws put an end to these practices. Current law dictates that a company that holds a permit is responsible for trucks that display its name.
Frequent Causes of Big Rig Accidents
There are several causes of 18-wheeler-passenger car accidents. The most common include:
- shredding tires
- brake failure
- driver fatigue
- unsafe driving practices
The trucking company can be held liable for each incident. The company is responsible for regular maintenance on all its trucks. Some owners try to get around the law by scrimping on maintenance. They’ll do a repair job on the brakes rather than install new ones. Further, owners may not change balding tires. When truck tires shred and break away, cars can easily be hit by flying rubber. Sadly, the U.S. Department of Transportation attributes 30 percent of big rig accidents to brake failure.
Failure to Properly Train Drivers
Trucking companies are responsible for proper hiring and training. They should perform a background check on a driver to make sure they have a clean record. The company should let drivers go if they have a history of driving while intoxicated. Likewise, drivers should be properly trained in the rules of the road and safety precautions. Attorneys prove the carrier controlled the driver’s duties so they’re liable.
The federal government dictates that drivers take a break after several hours of driving. However, many companies pay bonuses to drivers who get loads in early. How do the drivers do that? They don’t take the required time to rest. The worst driver is a sleepy driver. Sleepy drivers have impaired thinking and slower response times.
Failure to Load Properly
The trucking company can be liable if the truck is not loaded properly. Carriers have a duty to make sure the load is secured. Accidents occur when loads shift or come loose. The driver may swerve or jackknife to avoid something falling off the truck. This is dangerous for the driver and other vehicles on the road.
Severe injuries can occur if a vehicle collides with an 18-wheeler. If you’re a victim, get help from a big rig attorney. You’ll need an attorney to prove the trucking company is liable and owes you damages.