If you travel on any Texas highway, you are often competing for space with behemoth trucks such as tractor-trailers and other commercial vehicles. Over three million truckers work in the U.S., and at certain times of day, you may feel you cannot avoid them. Like many drivers, your instinct may be to clutch the wheel tightly and hold your breath as a massive truck speeds past.
While the number of fatal car crashes seems to be on the decline, the rate of deadly truck accidents continues to rise. Investigating the cause of a commercial vehicle accident can be complicated since there are often more factors to consider than simple driver error.
Give trucks a wide berth if you can
One of the most common causes of a truck accident is the negligent or reckless actions of a truck driver. This often involves driving at speeds that are unsafe for the weather, the road conditions or the type of cargo the vehicle may be hauling. Truck drivers may feel the need to drive faster because delivery deadlines or federal rest break requirements that put them behind schedule. However, the faster a truck travels, the more space it needs to stop, making it difficult to avoid a collision, which places you in danger.
Speed may be only one part of the equation. Other elements that may factor into a tragic accident include the following:
- Driver fatigue: Despite required rest stops, many drivers insist on pushing forward on inadequate sleep, meaning they are not alert enough to respond appropriately to what is happening around them.
- Impairment: Drugs and alcohol play an all-too-common role in trucking accidents.
- Distracted driving: Even more prevalent than drunk driving is drivers who use their cellphones, eat, drink or perform any actions that take their eyes and attention from the road.
- Maintenance: Trucking companies often take chances by allowing poorly maintained vehicles on the road, including those with worn tires or malfunctioning brakes.
- Weather: A driver may lack adequate training to handle a rig when the weather changes, or may simply to fail to slow down in poor conditions.
- Cargo: Improperly loaded cargo can make a rig difficult to handle on turns or hills. It can also result in flying debris, which leads to accidents.
As you can see, the trucker may not be alone in holding responsibility for an accident that leads to catastrophic injuries or the death of your loved one. The trucking company, mechanics or truck owner may carry some liability, and it is important to thoroughly investigate each factor when seeking compensation for injuries. Find an attorney with experience in trucking accidents.