Fatal truck accidents can be devastating especially for the occupants of smaller vehicles that get hit by larger trucks or big rigs. The main issue here is the vulnerability of individuals who are travelling in passenger vehicles that are smaller and lighter. Big rigs tend to weigh as much as 30 times as a passenger vehicle. Large trucks are taller and heavier and smaller vehicles often go under the truck trailers and get crushed resulting in gruesome injuries and deaths.
The braking capability of trucks could also play a part in fatal truck accidents. It is important to remember that loaded big rigs need a much longer distance to stop compared to normal cars. This distance can be longer when roadways are slick or when the truck’s brakes aren’t properly maintained. In addition, we all know that truck drivers who are tired or exhausted are more likely to cause a horrific crash.
Common Causes of Fatal Truck Accidents
Here are some of the common reasons why fatal truck crashes occur:
Drunk or drugged driving
It is illegal for drivers of commercial vehicles to operate with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.04 percent or higher. For other drivers, that legal limit is 0.08 percent. In recent years, we’ve also seen an increase in the number of large truck drivers who operate under the influence of impairing drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine as well as prescription drugs that cause intoxication and impairment.
Federal truck accident laws prohibit truck drivers from operating while using electronic devices. Truck drivers are prohibited from talking on a handheld cell phone or texting while driving. But this is not to say truckers don’t routinely violate these federal rules aimed to prevent distracted driving. Drivers who are distracted cause devastating crashes that could result in fatalities.
Federal hours-of-service (HOS) regulations require truck drivers to take breaks and limit the number of hours they are on the road. Recently, federal laws changed to require drivers to log their hours on the road electronically rather than manually in a logbook. These laws exist to discourage drivers from operating trucks while sleepy or fatigued.
Since the stopping distance for large trucks is much longer, when a truck driver speeds, he is unable to stop in time to prevent a crash. We often see this when traffic comes to a sudden stop and a big rig driver barrels through and causes a pileup. These types of accident often result in deaths.
Poor vehicle maintenance
When truck parts are not properly inspected or repaired, devastating crashes could occur. When a big rig’s tires or brakes fail, the resulting crashes could result in fatalities.
Holding At-Fault Parties Accountable
In fatal truck accident cases, a number of parties can be held accountable including the truck driver, the trucking company, a vehicle maintenance firm, etc. If you have lost a loved one in a truck accident, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit seeking compensation for damages such as medical and funeral costs, lost future income and pain and suffering. Our experienced Pennsylvania truck accident lawyers can help you better understand your legal rights and options. Call Us today for a free consultation.