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Common Causes of Truck Accidents

Common Causes of Chicago Truck Accidents – Injury Lawyer Chicago

Truck accidents occur all the time, and often involve smaller vehicles that are unable to get out of the way.

We have all seen them driving on the highway, and sometimes we even fear them: tractor-trailer commercial trucks. They are large, looming trucks, usually carrying heavy loads and hauling down the highway from anywhere between 60-70 miles per hour. The inertia behind a semi truck is significant, and when that truck needs to slam on the brakes to avoid an accident, it is going to take significantly longer for the truck to stop than it would for a smaller car.

Major Cause of Truck Accidents: Driver Fatigue

Although there are laws and regulations against doing so, some commercial truck drivers will drive for more hours than they safely should, sometimes to the point that they become overtired. Truck drivers are required to take breaks between driving shifts and are required to rest a certain number of hours per day. However, with delivery deadlines and traffic delays, some drivers feel compelled to push themselves and try to make up for lost time. This often leads to a lack of sleep, which can slow down the truck driver’s reflexes, or the driver may even fall asleep at the wheel and thus cause an accident. Because commercial trucks are so much larger than other vehicles on the road, any accident involving a truck usually produces a lot of property damage, and can kill other drivers involved.

Mechanical Failures in the Truck

Sometimes truck accidents are attributable to faulty equipment or improper maintenance of the vehicle. In some instances the truck’s cargo is improperly tied down, or the truck’s tires are in a state of disrepair. If a tire were to blow out, it could cause the truck to veer on the road and into other drivers or other lanes of traffic. Or if the truck were to lose the treading on one of the tires, the tread could fling out from under the tire and hit a nearby vehicle.

Distracted Driving

Truck drivers are often on a delivery schedule, and if they get stuck in traffic it can cause a delivery to not be made on time. Truck drivers are notorious for multi-tasking while behind the wheel. They sometimes eat, text, talk on cellphones, fiddle with GPS systems and use the CB radio all while driving. Driving while distracted is unsafe and can cause accidents.

Lack of Skill

Sometimes truck accidents occur because the driver lacks expertise in driving large commercial trucks. It is not very difficult to obtain a commercial truck drivers license.  New drivers may lack skill and might not know how to properly maneuver such a large truck under icy driving conditions or down steeply graded mountain roads.

3 Lesser-Known Causes Of Truck Accidents

We often hear of safe driving measures to practice when sharing the road with a large truck, such as avoiding their blind spots and keeping ample distance behind them. But we also need to pay attention to some lesser-known yet equally worrying risks that lead to truck wrecks. Here are three truck accident factors you may find surprising.

Undiagnosed Medical Issues

Did you know that about 86 percent of truck drivers are obese or overweight? This is according to a study by The Journal of the American Dietetic Association. Obesity among truck drivers may be the result of their long hours on the road, which leave little room for exercise and healthy meals. But more disconcerting is the fact that obesity often comes with underlying health issues that affect how truck drivers operate their vehicles.

Sleep apnea is an example. This medical issue causes a person to temporarily stop breathing while asleep. Because of that, a person with sleep apnea may be fatigued, sluggish, and less able to concentrate during the day. Worse, they could fall asleep while at the wheel.

Other medical conditions that are dangerous to truck drivers include heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Truck drivers can be more prone to these because of their lifestyle, and the outcome would be catastrophic if these conditions led to a heart attack or a stroke while driving.

Unqualified Drivers

Driving a tractor-trailer, an 18-wheeler, or a tanker is far more complex than driving a regular car. Because these vehicles are huge and heavy, they require specific driving skills like turning, navigating slopes, and braking. This is why large-truck drivers need to undergo training and pass several qualifications before they can operate these vehicles.

Sadly, so many truck drivers today are undertrained and unqualified for the job. In fact, many commercial trucking companies do not have protocols in place to effectively prohibit unqualified drivers from getting behind the wheel. A report from CNBC even reveals that some carriers evade federal safety requirements just by changing their corporate names.

As a result, unqualified or inexperienced truck drivers are often found to be a factor in truck crashes.

Mechanical Issues

Besides the factors stated above, truck drivers are not always to blame in accidents. In some cases, truck wrecks are a result of mechanical problems with the truck itself.

A very common example is faulty brakes. Trucks have a more complex braking system than cars, and any deficiency in the braking equipment may cause the system to fail. Other mechanical problems that lead to truck accidents include unsafe tires, unsecure cargo space, and outdated safety technology.

Trucking companies are required to pass safety inspections to ensure that their vehicles are road-worthy. Still, many unsafe trucks slip through these inspections, posing great risks to motorists.

It is unfortunate for car drivers to know that no matter how much caution they practice on the road, there is still a chance that negligent practices in the trucking industry can cause devastating accidents. If something like this has happened to you or your loved one, do not hesitate to contact an attorney to fight for your rights.

Truck Blind Spots: A Leading Cause of Auto Accidents Involving Semis

A large number of car accidents involving semi trucks occur when a driver fails to check their blind spots.

It is the duty of all drivers to follow best driving practices and to accommodate other drivers when necessary. For example, it is important for the driver of a car to understand that there are certain blind spots or areas in which it is impossible for a truck driver to see another smaller vehicle. Drivers need to be aware of driving patterns and to be cautious in order to avoid accidents with trucks.

Blind Spots on Large Trucks

Every driver should be aware of a truck driver’s blind spots. The main blind spots to be aware of include:

  • The front of the cab.
  • Behind the truck driver’s window.
  • On the right side of the truck.
  • Directly behind the storage area and behind the driver.

Truck drivers should adopt certain safety measures to minimize the risks posed by blind spots. They should use all the mirrors on the truck to see the cars in their blind spots and be extremely careful while changing lanes. Truck drivers may be held liable for an accident even if the car was in the no-zone area around the truck. If you or a loved one is involved in a blind spot accident, contact a Chicago truck accident attorney to investigate the no-zone areas around the truck and see whether or not the truck driver met the duty of care.

Liability in Truck Blind Spot Accidents

In order to avoid liability in an accident, it is important that the car driver gives sufficient space to a truck when driving. In case of an accident, when a jury checks the video surveillance and finds that the car driver did not provide ample space to the truck, the car driver may be held liable. In many cases, the truck driver is liable for blind spot accidents. It is possible that the truck driver did not have adequate training and caused an accident as a result. Both the truck driver and the truck company could be liable for its failure to provide proper training to the driver.

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