Large Truck Versus Auto Accident Claims, Lawsuits and Lawyers
Passenger cars stand no chance when a speeding tractor-trailer weighing almost 80,000 pounds pummels into it. Despite the latest and greatest safety technology that endeavors to make cars indestructible, a 4,000-pound car, SUV, or light pickup truck is no match for a commercial truck. The force of the impact of the commercial truck with the passenger car is tremendous. The force of the impact of the two vehicles is imparted to the occupants of the passenger vehicle, often causing devastating and catastrophic or fatal injuries to the occupants of the smaller vehicle.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 827 people died on Georgia’s road in accidents involving large trucks from 2011 to 2015. Those statistics from the NHTSA do not describe how the fatal event occurred. However, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) categorizes large truck accidents into seven general event descriptions. They are:
- Large truck rear-ending passenger vehicle,
- Passenger vehicle rear-ending large truck,
- Large truck crossing center median resulting in head-on collision,
- Passenger vehicle crossing center median resulting in head-on collision,
- Large truck striking passenger vehicle,
- Passenger vehicle striking large truck, and
- Another type of collision without further description.
The most recent statistics available from the FMCSA demonstrate that the largest number of fatalities occur when a large truck strikes a passenger car nationwide. The next most-deadly event is when a large truck hits a passenger car from behind. The FMCSA’s statistical analysis proves that a collision initiated by a large truck, rather than a passenger car initiating the crash, is frequently lethal and devastating.
Various reasons cause large truck crashes. One such cause is inattentiveness on behalf of the truck driver. Inattentiveness can result from driver fatigue, willful inattentiveness such as texting while driving or using a cell phone, and alcohol or drug consumption. Another typical cause for commercial vehicle accidents is speeding. Law enforcement, as well as state and federal agencies, closely monitor the speed of large trucks on the roads. Notwithstanding, truck drivers will drive faster than allowed. This disregard for the safety of others on the road may be attributed to tight delivery deadlines imposed by trucking companies. Driving faster than the traffic conditions allow is another common reason for truck crashes. Furthermore, shifting or unsecured loads account for accidents. A shifting load will cause the driver to lose control over the truck. Equipment failure is another common cause of loss of control over a large truck.
Determining the cause of a crash between a large truck and passenger car is critical to the success of a truck crash victim’s claim. A knowledgeable and skilled Georgia truck crash attorney will understand where to look for evidence for the cause of the crash. For example, the data recorder onboard the truck will contain useful data that should help determine the cause of the crash. The passenger car’s data recorder, if the car was equipped with one, will assist as well. Additionally, close examination of the truck driver’s log book and inspection book will aid in the investigation. The driver’s log book will contain information about hours on duty, hours off duty, and break times. Additionally, the inspection book will provide evidence of the maintenance history of the truck or even if the driver inspected the truck before and after trips as required by law.
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