Large commercial trucks are more difficult to maneuver because of their size and weight — even the most qualified driver cannot stop or turn a large truck as quickly as a smaller passenger car. This disadvantage, as well as the sheer size and weight of tractor-trailers, make them inherently more dangerous than ordinary cars in a traffic accident.
While federal regulations do mandate how many hours a driver can operate a large truck without sleep, the reality is that many drivers face tight deadlines and unforeseen traffic delays that make it difficult to meet their delivery schedules. Trucking companies may pressure drivers to forgo necessary rest stops in order to deliver a load on time, despite laws to the contrary.
Many experts believe that truck driver fatigue causes more truck accidents than any other factor. Since tractor trailers are already more difficult to drive, an alert operator is absolutely necessary to avoid accident – and a driver who is sleepy on the road can be extremely dangerous.
Besides driver fatigue, other factors include brake problems, traffic congestion, prescription and over-the-counter drug use, cell phone use, tailgating, speeding, and unfamiliarity with local roads.
The truck industry is powerful, and large trucking companies maintain their own legal counsel and substantial insurance coverage to help protect their interests. Only an attorney experienced in truck accident claims and insurance coverage issues will understand the necessary regulations involved to properly represent your claim.
If you have any significant injury, you should contact a truck accident attorney immediately to discuss your case. Trucking companies are only required by law to keep certain documents on file for a limited amount of time, and without a pending legal case, key evidence may be lost. Also, the insurance company for the trucking company may attempt to persuade you to provide a recorded statement, accept a low settlement, or sign a release, so it’s important to protect your own rights during this difficult time.
If a trucking company hires a driver to go out on the road without first providing adequate training, this may be a factor in proving negligence in your truck accident case. Tractor trailers are not easy vehicles to operate, and the companies that hire drivers have certain responsibilities to make sure that anyone getting behind the wheel is ready and able to do the job safely. Failure to meet that responsibility may constitute negligence, which may be instrumental to your case.
Trucking companies are liable for the actions of their drivers when they cause accidents on the job. The company should have been aware of any expired commercial driver’s licenses or past legal violations relevant to the job. Despite what you have been told, your situation may constitute a valid legal claim, and you should contact an experienced truck accident attorney immediately to represent your interests.