Causes of Truck Accidents
If you or someone you care about has been hurt or killed in a truck crash in Kingston, Marlboro, Ulster or elsewhere in the Hudson Valley, contact a seasoned truck accident lawyer at Rusk, Wadlin, Heppner & Martuscello, LLP, for a consultation with one of our attorneys. We will pursue your claims against freight companies, negligent truckers, insurance companies, and any other parties who should be responsible for compensating you and your family for your injuries, your pain and suffering, your medical expenses, and other legal damages.
Common Truck Accident Causes
- Drowsy, distracted, or drunk drivers. Truck drivers are susceptible to the same errors and faulty behavior as any other person on the road. Truckers, in fact, are especially at risk due to the long hours spent behind the wheel. Drowsy driving, driving while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol, and texting while driving all greatly increase the risk of a catastrophic truck accident.
- Overloaded hauls and unbalanced loads. Tractor-trailers and other large trucks must be loaded properly in order to be operated safely. Trailers have load limits that, if exceeded, can wrest control of the vehicle away from the driver at the worst possible time. Hauls must also be properly loaded, well-balanced and well-secured. An unsecured or unbalanced load can lead to a jackknife accident or other large truck crashes, putting other drivers at risk of serious injury or death.
- Aggressive driving maneuvers. Large truck drivers are not above speeding, passing on the shoulder, and other aggressive driving maneuvers. Sometimes they are just in a hurry to get the job done. These sorts of maneuvers are especially dangerous in inclement weather conditions. Truck drivers and other motorists must adjust to conditions such as ice, rain, fog, heavy wind, and snow; continuing to speed ahead despite these conditions greatly increases the chance of an accident.
- Lack of training and unqualified drivers. Freight companies are responsible for hiring drivers that are competent and qualified. They are also responsible for ensuring that drivers are properly trained in the safe operation of their vehicles. Unfortunately, many trucking companies hire drivers without conducting proper background checks and otherwise ensuring their team is qualified, competent, and safe. They might also cut corners and skip out on proper safety training. When accidents occur as a result, the trucking company is directly responsible.
- Truck malfunction. Large trucks have a lot of moving parts, and any given malfunction can lead to a catastrophic accident. Trucks can fail as a result of defective design or construction, a fault of the manufacturing company, or as a result of poor maintenance and upkeep. If your accident was caused by a defective truck part, an experienced truck accident lawyer can investigate and determine who was properly to blame.
Hours of Service Regulations and Trucker Fatigue
One of the principal causes of large truck accidents is driver fatigue. Long-haul truckers especially spend long, grueling hours behind the wheel. It’s easy to get tired and distracted on long trips. Many drivers risk falling asleep or drifting off at the wheel, or try to use supplements and alcohol to stay alert, which can cause even more danger. The federal government has issued regulations to address the danger of drowsy truckers, known as “hours of service” regulations.
According to the “hours of service” rules issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, truck drivers are not permitted to drive more than a certain amount of hours between rest breaks, on a given day, or in a given week. Truckers must take appropriate breaks between shifts and long trips. The purpose of these regulations is to make sure that the operators of these massive, dangerous machines are not ready to fall asleep at the wheel.
Unfortunately, many drivers flout hours of service regulations, often with the tacit or implicit encouragement of their employers. Freight companies want drivers to complete as many trips as quickly as possible in order to generate more income. Freight companies that have a pattern and practice of encouraging drivers to ignore hours of service requirements must be held accountable for any harm that comes as a result. Trucking companies can be held directly liable for accidents that result from their choice to place profits over safety. Talk to a seasoned New York truck accident lawyer about your accident to find out if hours of service or other safety violations came into play in your truck accident.
Call a Seasoned New York Truck Accident Lawyer for Help Recovering After Your Hudson Valley Truck Accident
For a free consultation on your possible commercial truck accident claim, contact the zealous truck accident attorneys at the New York personal injury law firm Rusk, Wadlin, Heppner & Martuscello, LLP, in Kingston at 845-331-4100 or in Marlboro at 845-236-4411.