The danger of California truck accidents: Who is to blame?
California residents depend on large semi-trucks to transport essential
goods across the state and throughout the country. As the economy continues
to improve, more commercial
trucks are needed to keep up with increasing freight demands. With a rise in
heavy truck traffic around the state, the potential for serious large
truck accidents also increases. In 2012, large truck accidents killed
244 people in California and 3,802 people nationwide, according to the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. An additional 104,000
injuries stemmed from commercial truck accidents that same year.
Common causes of truck accidents
According to a reputable American insurance company, some common causes
of truck accidents include:
- Drowsy truckers who stay behind the wheel despite federal Hours of Service
Distracted truckers who engage in other activities while driving, such as eating,
drinking, programming navigational devices, texting or talking on cellphones.
- Truckers who drive recklessly in bad weather conditions, including snow,
ice, wind, fog and rain.
- Truckers who speed or fail to yield.
- Freight that is not loaded properly and has unequal weight distribution.
- Impaired truck drivers.
Trucks that are not properly maintained and have equipment that is not
functioning properly also run the risk of encountering problems while driving.
Can trucking companies be held liable?
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, large trucks
can weigh anywhere from 10,000 to 80,000 pounds. Skilled and focused truck
drivers are needed to transport this massive weight. However, according
to the American Trucking Association, the trucking industry is currently
experiencing a lack of qualified commercial vehicle operators. With more
freight to distribute and not enough drivers to meet demands, some trucking
companies are scheduling truckers in violation of the FMCSA's Hours
of Service regulations or putting unskilled truck drivers behind the wheel.
In a recent high-profile case, comedian and actor Tracy Morgan was severely
injured when his limousine was rear-ended by a drowsy commercial truck
driver. Businessweek reported that the accident seriously injured several
other passengers in the limousine, and killed fellow comedian Jimmy Mack.
Morgan and the other passengers of the limousine have filed a third-party
lawsuit against the trucking company, citing negligence in hiring, training
and scheduling the truck driver. The driver had been scheduled to pick
up his truck 700 miles from his home, and then continued on his route
despite having been awake for 24 hours. The truck driver had fallen asleep
at the wheel, when he caused the catastrophic accident.
Seeking legal assistance
When a car is involved in an accident with a massive tractor-trailer, the
results can be devastating. Those people who survive the impact may be
left with debilitating injuries that will affect them for the rest of
their lives. Even if you have emerged from the accident injury-free, you
may develop injuries later on down the road. A personal injury attorney
can help you receive the compensation you deserve for your case.