Georgia Drivers: Beware of Tractor Trailer Truck Accidents
Did you know that even a low-speed crash with an 18-wheeler can be fatal? According to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety, if the truck’s “under-ride guard” malfunctions, or is nonexistent, the driver/passengers of a car, truck or SUV involved in a crash with a semi-truck could be seriously injured or killed. The car can slide right under the trailer and the roof can be sliced off completely. The “under-ride guard” is a metal structure located on the back of the trailer. It serves as a protection device to passenger vehicles. This device was introduced as a safety feature in the 1960’s after the death of a woman who crashed into a semi-truck. Efforts to improve these guards (to the standard passenger vehicles today go through) have failed due to ongoing battles with the trucking industry.
In 2011, the IIHS reported that more than 2,000 deaths were passengers involved in passenger vehicle/tractor trailer crashes.
Other types of equipment failures can be the fault of the truck driver or the company that employs the driver. These types of failures include: missing or inadequate side mirrors, defective brakes and tire blowouts from old tires.
What if the Actual Truck Isn’t to Blame?
Don’t worry– faulty truck equipment isn’t the only blame for serious injury in a crash with a semi-truck. Here are some driver-related causes of these types of accidents. The most common cause of trucking crashes is “driver fatigue” or “sleep deprivation.” Truck drivers are required by federal law (the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act) to take breaks and make use of rest areas on very long shifts. These mandates help keep the truck drivers and other travelers safe. Speeding can also lead to an accident. Tractor trailers average about 80,000 pounds of cargo, so if speeding occurs, the driver could lose control of the truck. Other accident causes include poor driving conditions, a driver who has not been well trained to handle the truck and cargo that isn’t properly secured or has been overloaded. Finally, occasionally a truck driver is caught driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. We all know the risks of driving while intoxicated in a car. There is the potential for an amplified effect for doing this while driving a tractor trailer.
How Can Truck Accident Litigation Firm in Atlanta NEAL LAW Help You?
There are mandatory and complex federal and state laws, regulations, and guidelines that tractor trailer truck drivers must follow when they are operating the trucks. For example, all drivers of tractor trailers are required to have a special license — Class A, commercial driver’s license. Also, there are special age requirements for driving the trucks, and those vary by state.
NEAL LAW has won substantial settlements and jury verdicts in trucking cases, and have the legal and financial resources to win these cases, so contact us if you have been seriously hurt in a car, motorcycle, bicycle, or pedestrian collision involving a tractor trailer. We can help you understand the basics and go through your accident with a fine tooth comb to make sure we don’t miss any details that might help you seek compensation and/or damages from your accident. If you have missed work because of pain and suffering that you are a experiencing as a result of a tractor trailer accident, you may seek compensation. Also if you have medical bills that are a result of this type of injury, you may seek compensation. Of course, if your property was damaged in a crash, we can work to get proper compensation for that as well.
Don’t Forget to Talk to an experienced Atlanta Truck Accident Litigation Firm as Soon as Possible
Timing is everything in a case like this. Evidence may need to be recovered from the accident scene and additional investigators may be required to survey the scene. It is important to take photos of injuries and damages to your property.