A semi truck can be a dangerous mode of transportation for a variety of reasons. The sheer size of a semi can make it a difficult commercial vehicle to maneuver, control, and stop with many weighing between 10,000 and 26,000 pounds or more. Semi trucks can also be dangerous if they have manufacturing errors or design defects.
Cargo Loads Contribute to the Dangers of Semi Trucks
Semi trucks haul heavy loads all over our roads and highways. The cargo they carry can include anything from industrial petroleum products to consumer goods. Hauling these loads safely is an important part of semi truck safety.
It is important that cargo is loaded, weighed, balanced, secured, and labeled correctly. To improve safety, a semi should be loaded in a way that meets federal safety guidelines including:
- Careful inspections before and after loading.
- Additional inspections at designated trip points.
- Ensuring cargo weight matches vehicle and tire size.
- Ensuring each load is properly sealed or contained.
In addition to these measures, truck drivers are also responsible for making sure each load of cargo is correctly balanced to ensure the truck is weight-balanced and does not pose a risk of danger from being either top-heavy or improperly tied down or secured.
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Truck Driver Errors Contribute to Dangerousness of Semi Trucks
When driven by inexperienced or inadequately trained drivers, semi-trailer trucks are dangerous. The same is true when they are not well-maintained or routinely kept in good repair.
In addition to the safety and condition of a semi, truckers can contribute to making semi trucks dangerous. When truckers falsify logbooks, drive more hours than federal regulations allow, or drive while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they put themselves and others at risk.
Alcohol Involvement in Semi Accidents
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2017, there were 4,761 fatalities that resulted from large truck accidents. The vast majority (72%) of these fatalities were the occupants of the smaller vehicles.
As many as three percent of truck drivers in these fatalities had a blood alcohol level that exceeded the legal limit. That means 4,600 semi drivers were driving heavy vehicles while legally intoxicated. Some semi drivers also had suspended licenses or had a history of involvement in other wrecks. Truckers can limit or prevent semi crashes by choosing not to use alcohol before they get behind the wheel.
Semi Crashes Caused by Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is usually thought of as using a smartphone while driving a car or truck. The following actions are reported distractions for truck drivers:
- People and objects outside the vehicle.
- Stretching and reaching for inside objects.
- Consuming food and beverages.
- Adjusting dashboard controls.
- Smoking or daydreaming.
In addition to texting and talking while driving, anything that draws a semi truck driver’s attention away from the safe operation of his vehicle can be dangerous for the driver and the traffic around him.
How Driver Exhaustion Causes Semi Truck Accidents
When semi truck drivers do not routinely get adequate sleep or do not adhere to federal regulations that dictate how many hours they can drive between rest sessions, exhaustion can occur and collisions can result. Many factors can contribute to driver exhaustion including:
Exhausted drivers are dangerous behind the wheel. Fatigue is not an uncommon reason that causes commercial truck accidents. The frustration of driver fatigue is that it is easily avoidable by simple measures like ensuring truckers take regular breaks, get adequate sleep, and understand the side effects of any prescription or over the counter medications they consume.
Contact a Truck Accident Attorney for Legal Help Today
If you or a loved one suffered personal injuries or a loved one passed away in an accident with a semi truck, you have legal options. You should not be left to pay out of pocket for medical expenses and property damage costs you now have due to a truck driver’s negligence.
Contact us to discuss the details of your truck accident and learn about your options for financial recovery. Call Ben Crump Law, PLLC at 800-630-9229 to be connected to a semi truck accident lawyer in your area.