In 2021, the trucking industry transported almost 75% of all cargo in the United States. In that same year, the trucking industry was worth a reported $876 billion. Without commercial trucking fleets and truck drivers, our nation would be crippled by extreme supply shortages. As essential to our daily lives as the trucking industry is, the massive amount of oversized trucks traveling up and down our highways and interstates present a very real danger to other drivers.
Everyone, including truck drivers, is capable of making a mistake. When the person making that mistake is behind the wheel of an 80,000-pound vehicle, however, even a tiny mistake can cost innocent lives.
What is the most common cause of preventable commercial truck accidents in Virginia?
If you were injured in a collision with a commercial truck, you should speak to a Virginia truck accident attorney at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp. We offer a free initial consultation to all prospective clients. An experienced lawyer will examine the details of your case and determine the most effective legal strategy for recovering damages.
In the meantime, the leading causes of fatal truck accidents are:
Failing to Keep A Proper Lookout
The manual for commercial driver’s licenses says that commercial truck drivers are required to look 15 seconds ahead to keep an eye out for any obstacles or other hazards in the roadway. At city speeds, 15 seconds represents about one block and at highway speeds, it represents roughly a quarter-mile. Since changing lanes or coming to a complete stop in an oversized commercial truck requires a great deal of distance, watching the road in front of the vehicle is extremely important. Truck operators can sometimes fail to look far enough in front of them to notice brake lights from stopped or slowing cars along with vehicles that are changing lanes or turning.
Changing Lanes and Merging
It is difficult for a truck driver to notice a small vehicle sitting in his blind spot. The manual for commercial driver’s licenses states that truck operators must check their mirrors prior to any lane change to ensure that they have plenty of room. Then, after signaling, they need to double-check to make certain that a vehicle has not moved in a blind spot. Lastly, they are supposed to check their mirrors as they begin to change lanes to confirm that their path is clear.
Entering the Flow of Traffic
Commercial truck drivers require a substantially larger opening in order to safely enter or cross the flow of traffic. This is due to the truck’s slow acceleration combined with the amount of space these trucks take up when they occupy a lane.
It is not uncommon for drivers to collide with the rear end of a truck that is parked or standing because they thought it was moving. Commercial truck drivers are required to place warning signs behind their trucks and use their emergency flashers anytime they need to pull over to the side of the road. Truck drivers should never assume that their taillights are ample warning to those around them. Warning signs must be set at 10, 100, and 200-foot intervals in the direction of approaching traffic.
Were You Seriously Injured in a Virginia Truck Accident?
Although most commercial truck drivers are dedicated professionals who diligently follow their industry’s rules and regulations, there are those who disregard driving laws and guidelines, and in doing so, cause catastrophic accidents.
If you sustained injuries in an accident caused by a negligent truck driver, contact the law offices of Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp. We have been defending personal injury victims since 1985. You can count on our qualified Virginia truck accident lawyers to obtain the financial compensation you are entitled to. Schedule your free consultation today by calling us at (833) 997-1774.