Large trucks play a vital role in transporting goods across the United States for consumers as well as providing livelihoods for truckers, truck owners, and trucking company managers and operators. However, trucks can present many dangers to other motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists. Because of the serious damage that commercial vehicles like trucks, tractor-trailers, semi-trucks, and big rigs can potentially cause due to their large size and weight, there are strict and specific rules and regulations for their operation and maintenance.
Trucking Safety Laws
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is in charge of creating and enforcing safety laws for truckers and trucking companies to follow. In addition, the Michigan Truck Safety Commission (MTSC) strives to improve highway safety in Michigan in relation to state and federal trucking regulations. The Michigan Center for Truck Safety as well as the Traffic Safety Division of Michigan State Police work with the MTSC to monitor and enforce trucking safety laws as well as educate and train in regards to drug and alcohol testing (FMCSR 40, 382), driver qualification (FMCSR 391), hours of service (FMCSR 395), vehicle inspection and maintenance (FMCSR 396), driver performance enhancement training programs, and fatigue management.
Truck Crash Statistics
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), one out of nine traffic deaths in 2008 were caused by an accident involving a large truck, which has a gross vehicle weight rating above 10,000 pounds. What is also shocking is that, although large trucks accounted for only 4 percent of all registered vehicles and 7 percent of total vehicle miles traveled in 2007 (the most recent year data is available), in 2008, large trucks accounted for 8 percent of all vehicles involved in deadly accidents and 4 percent of all vehicles involved in injury and property damage-only accidents. All in all, 380,000 large trucks were involved in accidents throughout the U.S.
The people who suffer the most because of truck accidents in Michigan and in other states are occupants of vehicles other than the truck. NHTSA data reflects that of the individuals who suffered injury in 2008 truck crashes, 71 percent were occupants of another vehicle, 3 percent were nonoccupants, and 26 percent were occupants of a large truck. Of the individuals who were killed in 2008 truck crashes, 74 percent were occupants of another vehicle, 10 percent were nonoccupants, and 16 percent were occupants of a large truck.
Truck Accident Causes
With these significant numbers in mind, many people are left wondering what causes truck accidents. Here are some examples of the most common causes of truck accidents:
- Truck driver fatigue
- Poor truck maintenance and/or repair
- Aged or improperly inflated tires
- Trucker distracted driving
- Trucker cell phone use while driving
- Trucking company oversight/negligence
- Failure to test truckers for drug and/or alcohol use
- Failure to conduct trucker background check
- Hours of service violations
- Overloaded truck
Effective Legal Skills Protecting Your Rights
Truck crashes can happen in a matter of moments, but the injuries they cause can last months, if not years. While some truck accident injuries are minor, such as burns and lacerations, others are serious and life-altering. A person involved in a tractor-trailer accident may suffer broken bones, head injury, spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, paralysis, and even death. Individuals who have been injured and family members of those who have been killed due to another’s negligence in a truck accident face devastating challenges. A truck crash not only causes significant physical obstacles, but emotional and financial ones as well.
At Lipton Law, our Michigan traffic accident lawyers understand how important it is to act quickly and efficiently when gathering the appropriate evidence and information after a truck accident. Truckers and trucking companies will work on building their defense right away, and you must be prepared to fight back with an effective legal plan. To find out how our attorneys can help you hold negligent parties liable and obtain the compensation you deserve, call us today at 800-CAR-CRASH for a free consultation.