Truck accidents are a serious public health hazard which kill thousands of Americans every year. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, fatal truck accidents hit a record low in 2009. As the economy recovered and Americans hit the road again, these numbers began to climb once more. Truck accident fatalities have been on the rise ever since.
If you or a loved one has been injured in any type of auto accident, contact an experienced Pennsylvania truck accident attorney as soon as possible. Truck drivers and trucking companies are legally responsible for compensating injuries caused by their negligence.
How A Trucking Company Can Be Legally Responsible For Causing a Truck Accident
Legal responsibility (“liability”) for a truck accident can fall to either driver. Trucking companies can also be found liable for causing a truck accident when their conduct resulted in an unsafe situation on the road. For example: because truck drivers are often paid by the mile, not by the hour, they are forced to choose between productivity and safety. Trucking companies which encourage drivers to push themselves to drive unsafe hours – or simply do not discourage it – can be liable for accident caused by tired truck drivers.
A common problem in the trucking industry is a high turnover rate. Long hours, low pay and tough working conditions have caused turnover among truck drivers to remain near 100 percent. This means that truck drivers on the roadway are almost always inexperienced. The turnover rate among truck drivers also means that trucking companies do not always thoroughly screen for problem drivers – especially those with a history of trucking and traffic violations. Accidents caused by drivers who are inexperienced or have poor driving histories can also bring liability to the transit companies that hire them.
How Pennsylvania Drivers Can Avoid Truck Accidents
- Slow it down. Large trucks maneuver more slowly than small vehicles, and they cannot quickly respond to cars that weave around them or make sudden movements. Speed should also be reduced any time that visibility is reduced at night, due to weather, or other circumstances.
- Make sure you are visible to any truck drivers nearby. Large vehicles have large blind spots, and this can make it difficult for a truck driver to avoid collision with smaller vehicles nearby. Use your horn and lights as necessary to increase visibility. Do not stay in a blind spot for too long – speed up or slow down to get out of the blind spot and remind the truck river that you are still nearby.
- Allow extra space between your vehicle and any large vehicle nearby. Large, heavy vehicles require greater stopping distance, and an unexpected obstacle in the road can be disastrous for a vehicle following a truck too closely.
- Pay careful attention to the cargo hold of nearby trucks. Liquid cargo creates a sloshing effect, which can both propel the vehicle forward and cause the tank to sway across the road. Wind, slick roadways, and other weather conditions can also make it difficult for a truck driver to maintain control of his or her vehicle.
- Watch for trucks in construction zones. Trucks are typically found on shoulders, in medians, and other unexpected places in and around construction zones.