Our roadways witness more than 500,000 trucking accidents each year. While large trucks account for only 3% of the vehicles on the roadway, they also cause 12% of roadway fatalities. Semi-tractors and trailers can weigh in excess of 80,000 pounds and be more than 75 feet long. Truck accidents are tragic and the injuries are severe. The brake time for an 18 wheeler is much longer than that of a passenger car. It is easy to see how an accident between an automobile and a truck could be fatal. Truck accidents are the most dangerous collisions on the highway. In fact, in passenger car-truck collisions, 98% of the fatalities are persons in the passenger vehicles.
Federal interstate trucking regulations and state intrastate trucking regulations govern the truckers on our roadways. The laws provide rules regarding truck maintenance, how loads are secured, the routes trucks are allowed to drive, and how truckers are allowed to drive. While the regulations are designed to reduce the number passenger car-truck collisions, many of these trucks are in violation of federal safety standards. A 2009 study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) revealed that almost every single commercial trucking company in the United States was in violation of at least one regulation. These violations include:
- unqualified drivers
- lack of training
- failure to maintain and service the trucks
- overloading trailers
- inadequate or incomplete log books
- pay incentives encouraging speeding and long hours
Pursuant to the Hours of Service (HOS) policy, a truck driver may work not more than 14 total hours in a 24 hour period. In addition, the driver must then have 10 hours of rest before driving again. The truck driver’s driving and sleep habits must be recorded in driver’s log book. In addition, routine maintenance must be completed and recorded. Not surprisingly, truck drivers often drive too many hours without the proper amount of sleep in order to meet deadlines. To protect themselves, some truck drivers falsify travel logs and fail to properly maintain their trucks and trailers.
After an accident, it is crucial to gather the information needed to reconstruct the accident. A thorough investigation is needed to obtain photographs, interviews, road measurements, speed calculations, and driver logs. Fatigue and inattention are the main causes of trucking accidents. We can use the driver logs and the GPS system to determine if the driver slept the number of hours required under federal law. We can secure the semi-truck and trailer and obtain the truck’s black box. The black box will provide crucial information, such as the speed the driver was traveling at the time of the accident as well as other times throughout his trip.
We handle cases involving the following types of trucks: pick-up truck accidents, small truck accidents, 18 wheeler accidents, semi truck accidents, tractor trailer accidents, delivery truck accidents, RV accidents, and commercial truck accidents. There are varying types of collisions as well. We handle side collisions, head on collisions, and rear end accidents. We also handle underride accidents. All trucks have an “underride” bar on the back of the truck. The bar is designed to prevent passenger cars from rolling under the back of the truck. Sometimes, the trucking company has installed an insufficient bar, one that is too high, or too low. A faulty underride bar can result in severe head injuries, including decapitation. Check out our injury and treatment page here.
Trucking cases can be very challenging. The investigation is absolutely crucial to your case. As truck accident injury attorneys, we handle these cases frequently and we know how to properly represent you. Contact our St. Louis Personal Injury Attorney or call at (800) 517-0602.