You may hear about a truck accident or see videos of close calls between trucks and cars. Some drivers aren't so lucky to escape unharmed. On Highway 401-Canada's biggest and busiest highway-there are more than 100,000 collisions reported each year, according to a 2011 Ministry of Transportation report. Of these collisions, hundreds are fatal and a significant percent of these involve trucks. In 2011, there were 101 fatalities involving trucks.
Accidents can also happen on city streets, small roads and residential areas. There are many factors that can contribute to a truck accident. One thing for sure is the size and weight of trucks can create a challenge for drivers and surrounding cars, especially while driving at high speeds. Here are a few factors that can contribute to a truck accident:
Unfortunately, drivers are often to blame when it comes to a truck accident. Sometimes human error comes into play in instances of unsafe passing, failing to signal, driving too fast or forgetting defensive driving techniques. Other times, the drivers themselves can get into a truck accident because of fatigue, sleep deprivation or even substance abuse. Similar to car accidents, distractions and accidents can happen at anytime-even more so when someone is not paying attention.
When trucks carry thousands of pounds of cargo, this means the rate of something breaking, colliding or falling off and causing a truck accident is high. Things related to truck design, such as manufacturing mistakes or production errors often cause accidents, such as brake failure, tire blowouts or defective steering. Other times, whoever maintains or leases the equipment might be at fault.
Everyone knows that Mother Nature can be tricky to deal with at times. Weather forecasts can make driving conditions scary for trucks. Maybe a driver is not comfortable driving in extreme weather or perhaps he or she stopped too quickly. When the weather report says to "drive carefully" it means that large vehicles and trucks should be extra careful. A truck accident can be the result of lack of control or something that happens uncontrollably during inclement weather.
We're not trying to lay the blame completely on truck drivers for truck accidents. There are many potential causes of a truck accident and many people could be at fault. In some cases, passenger vehicles that merge into lanes too quickly or don't judge the size of a truck properly can cause a truck accident. Sometimes things can happen further up the distribution chain with managers or owners of trucks and the decisions made behind loading and route planning. For example, with discrepancies in which type of cargo is loaded onto a particular type of truck can cause a truck accident because of the truck carrying too much weight.
Although each case is different, understanding common causes of a truck accident, as well as industry information and federal laws may help to present a claim. A personal injury lawyer can help determine if a person has a valid case.