What Causes Truck Accidents?
In a nutshell, driver negligence causes most truck accidents. Driver error causes over 98 percent of the truck wrecks in California. Noncommercial drivers, who have a duty of reasonable care, have some leeway. Truck drivers and other commercial drivers in California usually have a duty of utmost care. They have very little margin for error. So, even a marginal driving mistake, like driving 5mph over the speed limit, is usually negligence, or a lack of care.
If negligence causes injury, a Carlsbad truck accidents lawyer can obtain substantial compensation in court. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Normally, the transportation, shipping, or other company that owned the truck or cargo and paid the driver is financially responsible for damages, under the respondeat superior doctrine.
A fully-loaded large truck weighs over 80,000 pounds. So, the force in a high-speed truck collision is almost unbelievable. This massive force multiplies the effect of every driver error.
Excessive speed is a good example. At 65mph, a large truck needs about 600 feet, which is roughly the length of a football field, to stop, even after the driver slams on the brakes. The massive force in a speed-related collision often causes severe head injuries, broken bones, and other wounds that are permanent, life-threatening, or both.
Sometimes, the truck’s length, as opposed to its weight, causes an aggressive driving wreck. Jackknife collisions are a good example.
If the trailer is empty, perhaps because the trucker is driving the vehicle back to a loading dock or warehouse, the risk of a jackknife collision increases significantly. When trucks are driving over 55 mph per hour, they don’t have enough room to brake if something goes wrong in front of them. If they brake too hard, their trailers become unaligned from the cabs, causing them to fold on the hitch from the force of stopping.
Curved roads and bad weather sometimes contribute to jackknife collisions, but they don’t cause them. If a Carlsbad personal injury lawyer proves that driver negligence substantially caused a wreck, compensation is available.
Most companies pay most drivers by the load or the mile and not by the hour. This system encourages them not only to speed, as outlined above, but also to stay on the road as long as possible. Recently, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has watered down several key HOS (hours of service) rules. Furthermore, field officers often don’t aggressively enforce the remaining rules.
Fatigue is fatigue. The FMCSA cannot define it away. Driving after eighteen consecutive awake hours is like driving with a .05 BAC level. That’s above the legal limit for commercial drivers in California.
Frequently, truckers use drugs, mostly amphetamines, to counter the effects of fatigue. These drugs help truckers feel more awake, but they don’t address the clouded judgment that fatigue causes. If anything, these drugs worsen judgment impairment. Truckers who use amphetamines usually feel edgy and suspicious.
Furthermore, when these drugs wear off, users often crash fast and hard. They almost always crash while they’re behind the wheel.
Count on a Diligent San Diego County Lawyer
Injury victims are entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Carlsbad, contact the Pursley Law Firm. Virtual, home, after hours, and hospital visits are available.