It’s disheartening to say the least, but fatal truck accidents occur every day around this nation. Sadly, truck accident fatalities have risen 14 percent between 2009 and 2013 and accounted for 3,602 deaths in 2013, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). While some trucking accidents are truly accidental, most truck collisions aren’t “accidents,” but rather crashes that occur due to repeating problems, such as:
- Drowsy truck drivers. Truck drivers spend many hours on the road and often suffer from being tired. This is why there are federal rules in place that require truckers to take a 34-hour rest break over two nights before they can restart their work week of 77 hours over seven days. Unfortunately, many truck drivers break these rules, failing to take adequate rest breaks and not getting the sleep they need. When overtired truck drivers get behind the wheel, they increase their chances of crashing, putting innocent people in danger.
- Poorly-maintained trucks and equipment. Many trucking companies fail to pull their trucks off the road in order to perform regular maintenance because they don’t want to lose time and money. As a result, brakes and other equipment are poorly maintained, which can impact a truck’s braking capability and increase the risk of crashing.
- Overloaded and overweight trucks. Large trucks are already taller and weigh 20-30 times that of passenger cars, which means they can already cause a lot of damage in crashes due to their sheer size and weight. But when trucks run over their weight limit, they take longer to come to a complete stop and can cause even more damage in a wreck.
These recurring issues put the driving public at risk of suffering serious injuries or fatalities when sharing the road with large trucks. If you believe you are a victim of a truck crash caused by one of these issues, you should speak with a lawyer about your legal rights. Contact our law firm at (301) 942-9118 for a free consultation and case review.