Truck accidents are increasing every year. According to the US Department of Transportation, approximately 500,000 truck accidents occur every year in the United States. Because trucks tend to be such large vehicles–commercial trucks can be up to 80 feet long and weigh as much as 40 tons–accidents involving trucks often result in serious injuries and/or fatalities. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, 3,675 Americans died in traffic accidents involving large trucks in 2010, up 8.7% from 2009. In addition, there are approximately 25,000 injuries for which people seek treatment at the Emergency Room from truck accidents per year.
Your Denver Accident Attorney finds that the most common cause of accidents involving trucks when the truck driver is at fault is driver fatigue. Truck drivers can be over-scheduled in order to meet tight deadlines, driving too many hours a day, and/or at excessive rates of speed to meet the deadlines. Another common cause of accidents is overloading or improper loading of cargo. Of course, the cargo that is being hauled can itself cause accidents; if flammable or hazardous materials are being transported and a leak or spill occurs, other vehicles on the road may lose traction or skid into each other, depending on the type of material spilled.
Smaller vehicles cause their share of accidents involving trucks, too, however. Cars can drive in trucks’ blind spots, cut into a lane directly in front of a truck, follow a truck too closely, or pass a truck on the wrong side of the road. Drivers of cars need to keep in mind the increased stopping distance of trucks, which is even greater in bad weather. Giving trucks enough space on all sides is always a good idea.
Your Denver Accident Attorney notes that two causes of accidents common to both drivers of trucks and smaller vehicles are driving under the influence and distracted driving. Driving under the influence laws are now being put to the test with respect to both alcohol and marijuana, since retail sales were legalized in January of this year. In response to the increasing number of accidents caused by texting while driving, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for truckers enacted a new law effective January 2012 which prohibits texting, dialing, and even holding a phone while operating a truck, but does allow the use of a hands-free mobile device that requires only a single touch.
Even if you follow all of the tips above, you may still find yourself in an accident involving a truck. If you do, stay in your car unless you are in a safe location and able to get out of the car. Do not move the car unless it is necessary for your safety. Call 911 immediately; if you are able to, exchange driver information with the truck driver. Seek medical attention if injured, even if the injury is minor. If no injury is apparent at first, but pain and mobility issues develop 12-24 hours later, seek medical attention immediately. Then contact your Denver Accident Attorney at Levine Law today for legal advice.