What Are Some of the Common Causes of a Truck Accident in Dallas?
Dallas truck accidents are far too common. In Dallas County alone, there were 31 fatalities in 27 fatal truck crashes during 2015, reports the Texas Department of Transportation. An additional 81 people suffered incapacitating injuries, and 405 suffered less serious injuries. Learning common causes of a truck accident in Dallas can help you avoid these accidents or help determine liability for an accident you or a loved one has been involved in.
What are some common causes of commercial trucking accidents?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) does not track the causes of truck accidents year after year. A few years ago, however, it compiled information from several years of commercial trucking crashes in order to learn the most common causes. While the exact number of crashes caused by each of these factors has likely changed, all continue to be common causes for truck accidents nationwide. This has certainly been our experience in investigating trucking accidents.
According to the FMCSA, the most common causes of truck crashes include:
Prescription Drug Use
When you think of drugs that cause traffic accidents, alcohol and illicit drugs probably come to mind first. But the leading cause of commercial truck accidents, according to the FMCSA report, is prescription drug use. Many classes of prescription drugs slow reaction time and cloud decision making.
Speeding or driving too fast for conditions makes it hard to react in time to avoid a crash. A trucker carrying a heavy load and speeding down the interstate cannot stop as quickly as a passenger vehicle. In fact, a loaded truck traveling 55 miles per hour takes almost 200 feet to come to a complete stop, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Whether traffic stops in front of them or another car cuts into their lane, this often leads to extremely dangerous rear-end, override, or jackknife crashes.
Unfamiliarity with the Road
Some truckers drive the same routes every week, while others may go to Oklahoma one week and California the next. When you drive the same roads over and over, you learn the most likely spots for hazards. You know when you need to slow down for a sharp curve, and where the potholes you need to avoid are.
Because truckers do not know what lies ahead on unfamiliar roads, they are at an increased risk for an accident. While drivers on unfamiliar roads should slow down and take extra precautions, most want to deliver the load as soon as possible and might risk their safety and the safety of others to get there more quickly.
Like prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications can cause trucking accidents. Any medication that causes drowsiness or decreases reaction time can be extremely dangerous when used by a truck driver.
Unsafe Lane Changes
Truck drivers have large blind spots in front, behind, and on each side of their rig. Their training includes how to check these blind spots, and the proper way to make safe lane changes. Unfortunately, though, it does not always happen on the road. Unsafe lane changes lead may lead to the trailer crushing passenger cars in adjacent lanes.
Fatigued truck drivers receive a lot of attention in the press, as well as from the FMCSA. Federal and state laws limit how long truckers can stay behind the wheel, and force them to take breaks and sleep regularly.
Still, drowsy or fatigued drivers continue to cause crashes. Some drive longer than allowed because of pressure from their employer. Others fail to get enough sleep due to other reasons, and nod off behind the wheel.
Breaking Traffic Laws
Breaking even a minor traffic law can cause serious consequences when you are behind the wheel of a large commercial truck. Failing to use a turn signal or yield while turning left can cause a devastating crash that injures the occupants of any passenger cars involved.
When the FMCSA worked on the causation study, smartphones were not as common as they are today. Now, almost everyone owns at least one “smart” device.
While distracted driving has always been an issue for truckers, the numbers are probably much higher than the FMCSA report indicates. Texting while driving, watching videos, using apps, and even making a phone call can all lead to a truck accident.
Inexperienced or Untrained Drivers
Truckers require extensive training to earn their Commercial Driver’s License. Still, there is no substitute for experience behind the wheel. Inexperienced or inadequately trained drivers often underestimate their stopping distance, how much evasive action is necessary, and other factors that can lead to crashes.
Aggressive driving and road rage can lead to serious consequences with a passenger car. When the aggressive driver pilots a commercial truck, though, the risks increase dramatically.
Other factors that may cause a truck driver to cause a car accident include:
- Following too closely
- Improperly loaded cargo
- Poor truck maintenance
- Defective truck parts
Who is liable for a Dallas truck accident?
Determining liability after a truck accident is more complicated than after a typical crash. The potentially liable parties include:
- The truck driver
- The trucking company
- The truck manufacturer
- A parts manufacturer
- A maintenance company
- The shipping company who loaded the cargo
This, plus a number of other factors, makes it difficult to win a Dallas truck accident claim without having a knowledgeable attorney on your side. We can protect your legal rights while also building a strong case to support your claim. Our investigation pinpoints all potentially liable parties in your case, and works to recover all of the compensation you deserve.
Let Lovins Trosclair, PLLC Handle Your Dallas Truck Accident Claim
Our Dallas truck accident lawyers have helped hundreds of crash victims get the compensation they deserve to cover their medical bills, lost wages, and more.
Call Lovins Trosclair, PLLC today at 214-484-1930 to schedule your free initial consultation, and let us get to work on your case.