Top 5 Causes of Truck Accidents
Common causes of collisions include:
- Driving under the influence — for instance, February 3, 2014, statesman journal reported that a 46-year-old dump truck driver was cited for drunken driving and reckless driving after losing control of his vehicle — and the trailer it was towing — and veering off the road before jackknifing.
- Texting — In May, news station WCYB said a semi driver was replying to a text when he rear-ended a tractor trailer. His vehicle then caught on fire.
- Speeding — It turns out that the sleep-deprived driver who hit Tracy Morgan’s limo was doing 65 mph in a 45 mph construction zone, per NPR June 19. Often, these employees feel pressured to meet a deadline, but speeding only increases their chances of getting into an accident.
- Neglecting to pay attention — earlier this year, Washington Post reported that a 33-year-old dump truck driver was neither texting, nor talking on his phone, nor speeding but “should have been driving the truck slightly more to the left” when he crashed into a 39-year-old mother of three and killed her after she strapped her youngest child into a car seat.
- Driving while fatigued — June 16, 2014, NY Times said federal investigators had determined that a 76-year-old semi driver “had probably fallen asleep” when he crashed into a line of stopped cars on a highway and killed 10 people in 2009.
These are not the only causes of accidents, however.
Truck Driver Loses Brakes, Kills One After Plowing Into Restaurant
June 25, 2014, ithaca.com reported that a runaway truck carrying seven cars careened into the corner of a 130-year-old building and killed a 27-year-old bartender who was working at the bistro that afternoon. Accident reconstruction could take as long as two weeks, but the 37-year-old driver, who suffered minor injuries, was cited “for driving an over-length vehicle and having an inadequate braking system.”
Witnesses told police and reporters that he was driving between 30 and 50 miles per hour as he traveled downhill. One man, who was idling at a red light and saw the whole thing happen, said the truck driver did not sound his horn as he barreled toward the intersection.
Pressconnects.com said the driver ran a red light in July 2012 as well.
“Court records state [he] was not driving commercially during the 2012 crash, and indicate he did not have a commercial driver’s license, or CDL, at the time. He paid a $140 judgment in connection with the traffic infraction,” writers Steve Reilly and David Hill stated.
The driver’s employer, Auto Star Transport, hasn’t had insurance since January, when its contract as a motor vehicle carrier company was revoked. Nearly 30 people have filed Better Business Bureau complaints against Auto Star Transport, but it has not responded to any of them. The BBB has referred future complaints to the Attorney General’s office.
Truck Driver Cited for Lost Load
Ohio law dictates that “[n]o person shall drive or move, or cause or knowingly permit to be driven or moved, on any highway any vehicle or combination of vehicles which is in such unsafe condition as to endanger any person,” yet drivers are cited for failure to secure their load all the time.
Last March, a 35-year-old driver carrying limestone “was cited for failure to control his truck, driving an unsafe vehicle, and for shifting and loose loads” after crashing into a pedestrian bridge, per cleveland.com.
In reviewing 239 large truck crashes that resulted in a rollover, which is the deadliest type of accident according to a 2002 study, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration found that 26 were due to “loads that were too heavy, insecurely fastened, or mounted too high in the truck. … Some 15 rollovers could have been avoided by better securing of the load. Had the load itself not been allowed to shift, the truck would have remained upright. In these instances, it was the driver’s responsibility to make sure the load was properly secured before starting out and this was not done.”
If you have questions about liability in an accident, our personal injury lawyers invite you to contact our Cleveland office for a free consultation, read testimonials, and review sample case results.