Semi-trucks and tractor-trailers pose a significant danger to other cars on the road due not only to their great size but also to the conditions in which they operate. It’s for these reasons that the U.S. Department of Transportation as well as state agencies have created numerous safety rules and regulations designed to keep our roads safe. Despite these rules, semi-truck accidents still present a real threat and are responsible for thousands of deaths every year. It’s important to remember to exercise extra caution around semi-trucks to prevent getting into a potentially deadly accident. If you’ve been involved in an accident with a semi-truck, it’s important to understand the common causes so you can decide how to proceed with a potential case.
The Main Reason Why Accidents Caused by Semi-Trucks Happen
There are several common reasons why accidents with semi-trucks occur. The most common reason is driver error on the part of the truck driver. Factors such as fatigue, not paying proper attention, or substance abuse are common causes of accidents related to driver error. Some safety rules exist to try to mitigate the risk of these accidents, such as rules which limit how long a driver can work. Unfortunately, we’ve found that often times these rules aren’t properly followed. In fact, it’s not unusual for our attorneys to find that semi-truck drivers have lied about the hours they worked in their log book. If you’ve been in an accident with a semi-truck and believe that driver error was the cause, do not hesitate to contact our experienced semi-truck accident lawyers for a consultation.
Equipment Failure, Weather, and Loading
Although driver error makes up majority of accidents caused by truck drivers, there are several other common causes. One cause is truck equipment failure. Equipment failure includes manufacturing errors such as defective tires, as well as mechanical issues such as improperly maintained brakes. Even though drivers are required to perform an inspection before every trip, it’s unfortunately often the case that this requirement is ignored.
Another significant cause of semi-truck accidents is weather. Obviously, since semi-trucks are very large and weigh a lot, they are especially subject to the ill-effects of harsh weather. Bad weather conditions can drastically hamper a truck’s ability to brake and maneuver which can make a traffic accident extremely likely. Finally, improper loading is another common reason why accidents with semi-trucks occur. A truck’s load must be safely distributed throughout the trailer or it can cause the truck to malfunction. If a load is imbalanced, a semi-truck could even tip over. If a load isn’t properly secured, then that load could even fall out of the truck onto the roadway, endangering other drivers.
Accidents Caused by Passenger Vehicles
To be sure, passenger vehicles are also often responsible for accidents with semi-trucks. The main reasons for this are that drivers of passenger vehicles don’t understand or misjudge a truck driver’s limited ability to accelerate, brake, or see them. Because there are areas behind or to the side of semi-trucks where truck drivers have no visibility at all, drivers of passenger vehicles should always be sure to avoid any unsafe passing. Additionally, drivers should avoid abruptly changing lanes in front of trucks, or merging into traffic without sufficient acceleration. Even the most responsible and conscientious truck drivers can’t do much to avoid an accident if other drivers on the road don’t take the proper care and drive safely around them.
Semi-truck accidents are incredibly dangerous. If you’ve been in an accident with a semi-truck in Oregon, don’t hesitate to contact the experienced attorneys at Nelson MacNeil Rayfield.