Accidents involving commercial trucks can cause serious injuries and fatalities. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), in 2011 there were 273,000 accidents throughout the United States involving large trucks—3,341 of these injuries resulted in deaths.
In Tennessee, there are a number of state and federal laws that apply to commercial trucking companies. These are set in place to ensure that specific industry standards are followed by both the drivers and owners of 18-wheel vehicles. In the Volunteer State, it is not only the truck driver or owner who may be held responsible for a road accident but also the manufacturer. This means, determining who is liable to pay damages as a result of an accident can be a very complicated procedure.
Common Types of Commercial Truck Accidents
There are a number of common scenarios that can lead to serious commercial truck accidents. Here is a look on some of the most common:
- Jackknife accidents: This type of accident is often caused by severe braking. This causes the trailer to skid, and it will only stop when it reaches a 90 degree angle to the truck’s cab, resulting in a rollover.
- Rollover accidents. This can be due to steep hills, fast speeds, taking a curve too fast, or when a driver tries to compensate for a drifting trailer.
- Rear-end collisions. Heavy trucks require a longer stopping distance. When the driver misjudges the distance needed to stop, the chance of this type of accident increases.
- Underride accidents. Often the most fatal type of accident, this occurs when the truck is hit by a smaller vehicle that goes underneath the rear trailer.
- Truck vs. motorcycle accidents. These can occur when two vehicles have difficulty sharing the road or because the vehicle driver travels in the truck driver’s blind spot.
- Truck driver DUI. Truck drivers should not drive under the influence of alcohol as this significantly increases their risk of causing accidents.
- Road construction. Road work zones can be areas of potential hazard. If a large truck driver is having difficulty maneuvering his rig, is distracted, or is behaving negligently, an accident in a construction zone can cause injury or death to other motorists or construction workers.
- Brake failure accidents. These can be caused if the brakes are old, improperly installed, or poorly maintained, as well as by sudden stopping at high speeds.
Common Causes of Commercial Truck Accidents
The most common causes of commercial trucking accidents are:
- Driver error. This is the most common cause of any vehicle accident involving a large truck. Errors are mainly due to distractions, driver fatigue, or substance abuse.
- Failure of truck equipment. Equipment failures can include design errors, manufacturing flaws, defective brakes or tires, or defecting warning devices. Trucks should be properly maintained to meet regulation standards.
- Adverse weather conditions. Weather conditions can significantly affect the safety of large trucks with heavy loads. Adverse conditions can make braking difficult and hamper maneuverability.
- Improper loading. This can be a big problem if the weight of the truck’s load is not distributed evenly throughout the trailer. An imbalanced load can cause the truck to topple.
Commercial trucks are much larger than the average personal motor vehicle, so when accidents do occur, the injuries and the extent of the long-term damage can be significant. If you or a loved one suffered injuries in an accident involving a commercial truck, such as a semi or an 18-wheeler in Tennessee, you may wonder what to do next. At GriffithLaw, our truck accident attorneys are local to Franklin and the Nashville area and can help you receive compensation for your personal injury case. Call us today on (615) 807-7900 for a free case review.