Commercial trucks crowd our roads and highways. We trust the truck drivers sharing our roads to drive safely. When they do not, the harm can be devastating.
The Blackwell Law Firm helps people injured in commercial truck accidents. We represent injury victims and their families throughout Alabama. Our firm serves clients hurt by large eighteen-wheeler trucks, delivery trucks and logging trucks. We understand the safety issues involved in large truck collisions.Commercial Trucks and Safety
Some attorneys treat commercial truck accidents just like all other car accidents. Yet, commercial truck accidents are very different. Commercial trucks present unique safety issues.
Commercial vehicles operate differently than passenger cars. Large trucks have different equipment, accelerate slower, take longer to stop and require more room to turn or maneuver. They have different blind spots and carry heavy loads which can shift.
Federal safety regulations govern many aspects of commercial trucking. Attorneys handling commercial vehicle accident claims should understand these important safety rules, but many do not. These regulations include rules and procedures for:
- Driver hours / Rest periods
- Driver drug testing
- Vehicle inspection and maintenance
- Safety equipment
- Liability insurance
- Trucking company safety reporting
- Driver hiring and training
- Truck weight limits
Attorneys handling commercial truck cases must understand the rules and their impact on safety. We aggressively investigate our cases to determine whether or not the rules were followed.Common Causes of Commercial Truck Collisions
Truck and car collisions can result from driver negligence on the highway. Truck collisions also frequently result from driver or company negligence related to equipment, training or loading. When a trucker or his company negligently injures you or your family member, they should be held responsible.
What are some common causes of commercial truck accidents? They include:
- Driving too fast for road conditions. For truckers, more miles usually mean more pay. Plus, companies may pressure drivers to make deliveries quickly. Truckers should drive at safe speeds under perfect road conditions. Conditions such as darkness, rain, ice, or even crowded roads, require extra care.
- Failing to check blind spots. Have you experienced an eighteen-wheeler suddenly changing into your lane? Commercial trucks have large blind spots. Truck drivers should know the vehicles around their truck. Too often, they don’t.
- Overloaded trailers. Heavier trucks are harder to brake and maneuver. Heavier loads shift easily creating rollover and control issues. Safety rules impose weight limits on trucks. Sometimes, truckers ignore these rules.
- Intoxication. Alcohol and drugs are issues in many car and truck wrecks. Some commercial truck drivers also use drugs to stay awake. These drugs can tremendously affect judgment and safety.
- Distracted driving. Distracted driving from cellphones or other electronic devices is a major safety issue for cars and trucks. Because large trucks are harder to maneuver or stop, even momentary distractions magnify the danger.
- Fatigue. A recent survey produced troubling results – many truck drivers have actually fallen asleep while driving. Truckers face tremendous pressure to drive long hours.
- Faulty equipment. Commercial trucks are subject to equipment rules and inspections. Yet, rules are not always monitored. Inspections are too few. Some companies neglect truck upkeep. This means trucks with bad brakes, worn tires and faulty steering.
A skilled truck accident attorney should thoroughly investigate the facts and aggressively pursue the causes of your injury.Fighting Trucking Company Lawyers
Trucking companies spring to action following serious collisions. Some trucking companies neglect truck and driver safety. Yet, the same companies will immediately work to avoid responsibility for the injuries and damages they cause.
Some trucking companies even deploy rapid response teams immediately to the accident scene. We once resolved a case where the truck driver even refused to talk with the investigating Alabama state trooper until the rapid response team arrived at the scene. Trucking companies begin preparing to deny or defend your claim immediately. You cannot treat serious truck collision claims like car accidents. Yet, too many lawyers do exactly that.
Full compensation in trucking cases requires hard work and preparation. We prepare our cases. We pursue available witnesses. We inspect the scene and vehicles. When needed, we employ accident reconstruction and safety experts. We fight the trucking companies to obtain important safety documents.
Like car collisions, most cases eventually settle. Yet, the best possible results require preparation. Whether by settlement or trial, a commitment to detail leads to the best results.Commercial Trucking – A Changing Landscape
Trucking is big business. The trucking industry employs teams of lobbyists constantly working to loosen safety rules. In recent years, trucking lobbyists have pushed Congress to allow larger trucks, heavier loads, double trailers and longer trucker hours. The same trucking lobbyists have also pushed rule changes to prevent the public from discovering company safety records.
Highway safety is a serious challenge. When trucking lobbyists are successful in loosening any of the rules, real people on our highways face greater risk of injury. We believe trucking accident attorneys should follow legal developments closely. We do. If you are seeking a consultation for a specific injury, we are available for a free and confidential consultation. If you are seeking general information, we always welcome readers and commenters to our blogs. You will find blog posts discussing important safety and regulatory issues.