Common Causes of Truck and Commercial Vehicle Accidents
Accidents involving trucks and commercial vehicles can be devastating for pedestrians, bicyclists, or drivers and passengers of smaller, lighter personal vehicles. Often these accidents could have been prevented if the owner or operator of the truck or commercial vehicle had taken some common-sense steps and/or followed regulations designed to promote safety on the roads.
The following are some ways these crashes may happen. If you’ve been involved in an accident with a truck or commercial vehicle in which any of these factors were involved, you may have a claim for compensation. An experienced Chicago truck accident lawyer can help you identify the cause of your accident and build a case for compensation.
Perhaps the most common reason for a truck or commercial vehicle to collide with a car, bicycle, or person is simple human error. Often, that means the truck or commercial vehicle driver was negligent in some way. Perhaps he or she spent too much time on the road that day and exhaustion led to negligent driving.
Federal regulations limit the amount of time a truck driver is supposed to spend on the road per day, and require drivers to log their hours on the road. Drivers don’t always log their hours adequately, or logs can be falsified when drivers feel pressured to spend more hours on the road than they should. These kinds of facts may turn up when a truck accident is investigated, and can help with a claim for compensation.
Inexperienced or Improperly Trained Driver
Trucks or commercial vehicles often are oversized compared to personal vehicles, and drivers have to have commercial drivers licenses to operate many types of commercial vehicles. Trucks or commercial vehicles may be taller and/or longer than personal vehicles, which means they’re more challenging to handle. They may need more room to stop or to make turns. If a driver is new or didn’t receive adequate training in how to handle the truck or commercial vehicle, that inexperience may lead to collisions.
Generally, there are regulations for how much weight a commercial vehicle or truck can carry. The drivers and owners of these vehicles usually are supposed to keep detailed logs of what’s being carried and how much it weighs. Even if there are no pertinent regulations, a vehicle is only built to carry so much weight, and its tires are rated to carry a certain weight. When a vehicle is overloaded, that can affect the vehicle’s speed, performance and steering. Tires carrying too much weight can blow out and cause the vehicle to jack knife or roll and potentially cause a crash.
The owners and operators of some types of trucks and commercial vehicles are subject to regulations about how they must maintain their vehicles. Those regulations typically require maintenance to happen on a regular schedule, and for regular maintenance to be documented. When trucks or commercial vehicles are allowed to fall into disrepair, accidents may occur. Some common types of equipment malfunction that may cause collisions include:
- Improperly maintained safety equipment
- Faulty brakes
- Tire blowouts
Inclement weather is a common cause of all accident types, not just those involving trucks or commercial vehicles. When roads are slick from rain, ice or snow, and drivers fail to exercise proper caution, crashes can occur. Most weather-related wrecks happen because the driver was driving too fast for road conditions. Even when someone is driving at or under the posted speed limit, that may be too fast for wet, snowy or icy roads, or for when there is fog or high wind.
Road construction can be a highly frustrating aspect of driving, but is something everyone encounters as the weather warms each spring and summer. Roads that are narrowed to one lane, or are temporarily rough and unpaved, or where the shoulder has been blocked all can present hazards when a driver isn’t paying careful attention or is driving too fast through the construction zone. Trying to get around a bottlenecked lane in a construction zone by passing other cars through grass or on the shoulder is one way a crash can happen when there just isn’t enough room to pass or the grassy median is too steep and the driver loses control and rolls.