How Are Truck Accidents Caused by Driver Negligence?

There is almost nothing on the roadway that can compare to the extreme force of being hit by a commercial truck. Due to their size and weight, these oversized vehicles can easily endanger those around them. Even an accident that occurs at a slower speed could have catastrophic consequences for anyone in a smaller passenger vehicle.

Is driver negligence a common cause of trucking accidents?

If you were involved in a commercial truck accident, speak to a Virginia trucking accident lawyer at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp. We offer a free case evaluation to all potential clients. One of our experienced attorneys will review the facts of your accident and determine the most prudent legal strategy for recovering compensation.

What Forms of Driver Negligence Commonly Cause Truck Accidents?

A lot of accidents involving trucks and other commercial vehicles are the result of driver negligence, or a driver’s failure to uphold their duty of care. As common carriers, truck drivers have a higher standard of care for the safety of other drivers than drivers of passenger vehicles. They received professional training and specially licensed, and are expected to take additional cautions to prevent injuring others. Commercial truck drivers are required to obey the same driving laws as other drivers and yield to smaller vehicles to prevent what are usually catastrophic and fatal accidents. 

The leading forms of truck driver negligence are:

Failure to Consider Inclement Weather

While current atmospheric conditions are outside of their control, commercial truck drivers are responsible for operating their rigs safely at all times. This means they must exercise caution when the weather is less than ideal. 

Inclement weather conditions that commonly lead to increased odds of a commercial truck accident include: 

  • Storms
  • Fog
  • Rain
  • Snow
  • Heavy winds

When these conditions arise, drivers should decrease their speed. If it becomes too dangerous, they might need to pull off the roadway to ensure their safety and the safety of others. If a truck operator chooses to continue driving when conditions are dangerous, they could be considered negligent should an accident happen.

Failure to Maintain Their Vehicle

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires freight companies to properly maintain their trucks and ensure they are safe to drive. Trucks are supposed to be professionally inspected once a year and truck drivers are supposed to inspect their rigs at least once a day. Required commercial truck maintenance includes:

  • Routine tire rotations
  • Ensuring tire pressure is accurate
  • Replacing any broken lights
  • Replacing any worn-out brake components

Conducting inspections and performing routine maintenance and repairs is time-consuming, and leaves the truck non-operational. Many freight companies opt to forego the required repairs and maintenance in order to keep the truck in use. If improper maintenance causes a traffic accident, the freight company could be liable.

Driver Fatigue

Driver fatigue is a major safety concern in the world of commercial truck operation. Truck drivers are often forced to adhere to unreasonable delivery schedules so their company can make more money. When a driver is tired or chronically sleep-deprived, he or she may fall asleep at the wheel or have difficulty concentrating on driving.

In an effort to address this issue, the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration has enacted numerous regulations regarding the amount of downtime drivers must have after being on the road and how they are supposed to document their hours both on and off the clock.  

Unfortunately, when delivery deadlines are looming, freight companies are known to encourage their truck drivers to disregard these rules, fudge their logbook entries, and simply keep on trucking. If any of the FMCSA’s regulations are violated, the truck driver and/or freight company could be considered negligent if the violation causes an accident.  

Were You Involved in a Commercial Truck Accident?

While the majority of truck drivers are professionals who take their jobs seriously and abide by the rules and regulations of their industry, there are some who choose to ignore the law, increasing their odds of causing serious accidents. 

If a negligent truck driver caused your accident and injuries, contact the personal injury law offices of Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp. We have been successfully litigating truck accident cases since 1985. To speak to one of our qualified Virginia truck accident attorneys, schedule a free consultation today by calling (833) 997-1774.

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