When a truck driver starts working, they should have the proper license and training to know how to drive an 18-wheeler and follow all laws on the road. This is because accidents involving big rigs are typically more dangerous than automobile accidents.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reported that more than 13 percent of the fatal crashes on roads in the United States involved at least one large truck. As a result, truck drivers need to pay attention to other vehicles around them and drive at a normal speed.
Truck crashes are devastating for all involved. Let a San Antonio truck accident attorney handle your case and fight for your recovery of medical bills, expenses and other damages.
An accident may occur when certain weather conditions exist and a tractor-trailer is speeding on the roads. These trucks are known to wreck the types of weather: rain, ice, fog, and snow. Truck drivers in Texas must drive with caution when these types of weather conditions occur. If not, they can lose control, drive off the road, or crash into another vehicle. Driving slower than the speed limit in bad weather can save lives.
There are curvy roads around the country, which all drivers should drive carefully. Truck drivers need to use extra precautions when going around curvy roads. When a truck driver is speeding, it greatly increases the chances of an accident.
The loads that the 18-wheelers are transporting are heavy. Therefore, if the driver is speeding, it can become difficult to control the truck because of the heaviness of the load. If a trucker cannot keep their truck stable, this can lead to the truck overturning or flipping.
Inability to stop
It is a known fact that big rigs cannot stop as quickly as other automobiles. Therefore, if a speeding trucker is driving too fast for conditions, the time they need to stop increases, and it can be almost impossible to safely slow down or stop when other cars are around.
Inability to control the truck
Automobile drivers who speed may still have a certain amount of control over their vehicles, but truckers who speed are more likely to lose control of their trucks. The reason behind this is that the truck is large, the load is heavy, and it takes longer to stop and slow down.
Types of Injuries from Truck Accidents
When truck drivers go over the speed limit, they not only put their own lives at risk but also put other people around them in danger. The FMCSA stated that 72 percent of those killed in crashes involving large trucks were people in other vehicles.
An accident may occur if a tractor-trailer does not take necessary precautions or at least follow the posted speed limit signs. Victims of these types of accidents typically experience catastrophic injuries, which are serious injuries that may lead to long-term or permanent disabilities and disfigurements.
Some of the most common catastrophic injuries from truck driving accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Broken or fractured bones
- Spinal cord injuries
- Or even death
Victims of catastrophic injuries will most likely need care for the rest of their lives. This may include physical therapy, occupational therapy, and special services to complete daily tasks.
Types of Accidents Involving Speeding Tractor Trailers
About any type of accident can occur when a tractor-trailer is speeding, but some are more common than others. Several common commercial vehicle accidents happen due to truck drivers driving too fast, including rollover crashes, rear-end accidents, jackknife accidents, t-bone crashes, wide-turn crashes, and many more.
A rollover accident happens when a semi-truck loses balance and rolls over onto its side or roof. According to the National Library of Medicine, around nine percent of all tractor-trailer accidents are rollovers.
A rear-end collision is when a vehicle hits the rear end of another vehicle. These types of accidents most often occur when drivers do not stop or slow down quickly enough.
A jackknife accident is when a tractor-trailer experiences folding at a 90-degree angle. A jackknifed trailer often swings out into adjacent lanes, crashing into any cars or motorcycles in its path at high speeds.
T-bone accidents are prone to happen at intersections. Tractor-trailers become involved in these accidents if they cannot stop at a red light or stop sign. T-bone accidents look like a “T” shape as one vehicle collides with the other, causing an impact on the side of one vehicle.
Large semi-trailer trucks have difficulty making right turns. Therefore, truck drivers must carefully make these turns and watch out for vehicles that may be in the way. When an 18-wheeler does not have enough space to make these turns, dangerous accidents may occur.
A sideswipe accident is when two vehicles collide while traveling next to each other. Trucks and automobiles may experience a sideswipe accident if the truck does not keep an eye on their blind spots before switching lanes or merging.
Since a tractor-trailer is much longer than an automobile, it is easy for a vehicle to be in the trucker’s blind spots. Therefore, they may need to double-check their many blind spots. Other common ways a sideswipe may occur are extreme weather conditions, tire blowouts, traffic issues, and distractions.
When truck drivers speed and lose control of their tractor-trailers, they may end up in another lane and find themselves approaching oncoming traffic. Head-on collisions can also occur at stop signs, red lights, and intersections.
This usually happens when a driver does not have the right of way but decides to go anyway. Tire blowouts are also known to cause head-on crashes. The reason for this is that they may lead to rollovers, losing control of the truck, and accidentally moving toward oncoming traffic.
Citations for Speeding Truck Drivers
Speeding among truck drivers may be more common than you think. To prove this, the FMCSA has kept track of truck drivers receiving citations for going faster than the speed limit over the years. These citations do not always stem from accidents, but many do.
The following is the number of citations given to commercial drivers in a recent year for going over the speed limit:
- 15 or more miles per hour over the speed limit: 15,510 citations
- 11 to 14 miles per hour over the speed limit: 28,325 citations
- Six to 10 miles per hour over the speed limit: 67,487 citations
These numbers may not seem like a lot when you consider that about 12 million people work as truck drivers or in truck-related careers, and this number does not include self-employed truck drivers. However, there are a lot of drivers who do not get caught speeding, which contributes to the 100,000 truck accidents each year. The reality is that speeding truck drivers are everywhere, and they are a danger to all other motorists.
What Are the Problems of Speeding?
When a trucker speeds, they may think that it benefits them by getting to their destination before their driving time limit runs out. However, there are still negative impacts when it comes to a truck driver speeding.
Other than legal consequences, some of the other problems of speeding include:
- Fuel inefficiencies
- Higher premiums from insurance companies
- Lost productivity due to recurring roadside inspections
- Poor CSA scores
What Is a Proper Speed Limit for a Semi-Truck?
You may be under the impression that truck drivers should follow a specific speed limit, but this is not always the case. Sometimes, they simply have to follow the posted speed limit because of speed limiters. The posted speed limits are there for a reason, but several factors contribute to the proper speed limit for a semi-truck.
Truck drivers must pay attention, be aware of their surroundings, and adapt to road conditions. This means a driver should not continue driving at the posted speed limit if it begins snowing, icing, or pouring rain outside.
Different weather conditions can lead to visibility issues and increase the risk of a truck wreck. Therefore, the driver must use their judgment and decide to drive at an ideal speed that will decrease the chances of them hydroplaning, running off the road, or crashing into another vehicle.
What Is a Tractor Trailer’s Black Box and How Can It Help a Truck Accident Case?
About every single tractor-trailer is equipped with a black box these days. If a tractor-trailer was manufactured in the 1990s or sooner, there is a good chance that it has a black box. These black boxes are data recording devices that keep track of the driver’s speed and hard braking for up to a month. When an accident occurs, there is a good chance that the driving speed was recorded during the accident.
Although these black boxes may seem small, they contain much information. Some of the other data that this event data recorder (EDR) keeps track of is the driving time, the use of brakes, turning of the steering wheel, engine oil, tire pressure, and more. A truck accident attorney may decide to use this device to prove what caused the wreck, but it will not be easy to obtain this information.
A trucking company is not required to provide this information unless properly requested. Also, the data may be destroyed or written over if not promptly preserved. If a truck accident victim believes that they were hurt due to the negligence or recklessness of a truck driver, then they will need to ensure that the trucking company preserves the data on the black box by legal means.
Is a Speeding Truck Driver Always at Fault?
Even though truck drivers are sometimes at fault when a collision occurs, that is not always the outcome. Determining who is liable for damages is one of the most important steps in the legal process.
A San Antonio truck accident lawyer can investigate your accident and help you find out if the truck driver, their employer, or the manufacturer of the vehicle is responsible for all or part of the damages. Lawyers have methods of determining whether a driver was speeding or otherwise negligent when the crash happened.
Holding Negligent Truck Drivers Accountable
When a person is involved in a truck accident, it is essential to determine the cause and calculate the damages. Depending on how severe your accident and injuries were, automobile repairs and medical bills are most likely not the only damages you have.
For example, physical therapy, surgeries, occupational therapy, counseling, home modifications, and ongoing services are just a few of the potential damages that may be claimed in a personal injury lawsuit.
Call an Experienced Texas Truck Accident Attorney Today
If a truck driver broke the speed limit and injured you or a loved one, you can hold them accountable for their actions with the help of a truck accident attorney. You only have a limited time to file a claim, and delay can lead to the loss of your opportunity to recover compensation for your injuries. Call one of our truck accident attorneys in San Antonio, today, to discuss your legal options.