Semi-truck accidents can have brutal consequences due to the impact of a massive vehicle colliding with a car, motorcycle or pedestrian. On March 5, a semi-truck crashed into a vehicle and injured two state troopers in Maryland Heights. Tractor-trailer accidents are often caused by various truck driver errors or equipment failures. Here are some common causes of truck accidents:
Truck drivers are prone to distraction due to the long distances and tedious hours they are often required to travel. Common distractions include:
- Texting, calling or using mobile apps
- Fiddling with radio controls
- Eating or drinking
- Programming a GPS system
- Reaching for papers or other items
These actions cause the truck driver to take his or her attention away from operating the vehicle and staying alert.
Because truck drivers often drive thousands of miles in a short period of time, they may not get adequate sleep. Some trucking companies pay drivers by the mile, incentivizing the driver to drive further without proper rest. While there are federal regulations limiting driving time and mandating rest breaks, some drivers falsify their driving logs.
Federal regulations also require tractor-trailers to be properly maintained. Worn tires, faulty braking systems and malfunctioning engines can cause serious accidents. Trucking companies are required to comply with maintenance regulations, which include checking the braking system before each trip.
Sometimes truck drivers are inadequately trained or have little to no experience. This usually occurs due to trucking companies quickly putting drivers behind the wheel shortly after training courses. Inexperienced drivers may also charge less per mile. Hiring inexperienced drivers can result in the driver injuring someone in an accident.
Truck drivers are prohibited from using any controlled substance that impairs their ability to operate commercial motor vehicles. This includes illegal drugs, alcohol and certain prescription medications. Only prescription medications that are deemed safe to take by a licensed physician are allowed. Federal regulations require drivers to take drug tests before employment and random tests while drivers are on duty.
People who get injured in tractor-trailer accidents can benefit from consulting with a personal injury attorney. An attorney who is familiar with regulations, resources to obtain and preserve evidence and has a reputation for successful settlements can help individuals determine the best course of action to take after getting injured. Potential options include suing the truck driver or trucking company based on what caused the accident and who violated federal or state regulations.