Driving through the narrow streets of New York and the Bronx can be daunting and all too often we hear reports of accidents and injuries. However, while car accidents are unfortunately common, there is nothing common about an accident involving a large commercial vehicle such as a tractor-trailer. Because of their size and weight, accidents with trucks tend to cause more damage than accidents involving smaller vehicles.
The attorneys at Reiff Law Firm are here to help you, we bring not only years of experience representing injured victims, but also employ experienced investigators to gather the evidence needed to determine liability and fault, and help you recover for your injuries.
Roads in the Bronx
As the northernmost borough part of New York City, the Bronx is uniquely situated for commercial vehicles to use to get out of the city.
- The Bronx River Parkway
- The Bruckner Expressway (I-278/I-95)
- The Cross Bronx Expressway (I-95/I-295)
- The New England Thruway (I-95)
- The Henry Hudson Parkway (NY-9A)
- The Hutchinson River Parkway
- The Major Deegan Expressway (I-87)
Many of these roads are considered limited access which means that there are certain vehicles who are restricted from driving on these roads. In addition to these roads, there are thirteen bridges and three tunnels that connect the Bronx to Manhattan. Recently there was a tractor trailer accident that caused major backups on the Cross Bronx Expressway. On Memorial Day a tractor trailer was driving on the Cross Bronx Expressway when his truck was hit by a black car while he was driving in the middle lane. What happened next is worthy of being in a Hollywood movie. After being struck by a vehicle the driver lost control over his truck and he crashed through the outer westbound rails of the Cross Bronx Expressway. The tractor trailer cab was left dangling precariously over the edge over the Sheridan Parkway which was below. Fortunately, the driver was not killed and was actually able to climb out of his truck and jump onto the road below him. While he sustained several injuries including seven staples in his head and a sore neck, he was fortunate that there were no other serious injuries.
Causes of Large Truck Accidents
There are many factors that can result in a truck accident, including:
Poor vehicle maneuverability
This is one of the biggest factors that can lead to an accident with any truck or tractor trailer. As was demonstrated by the accident discussed above, large trucks are not maneuverable as smaller cars. Even if a driver is able to move out of the way of an accident, often they will cause an accident by over-correcting their own vehicle. Anytime that a truck driver makes a sudden movement in their vehicle it can cause the truck to lose control case in this accident
Speeding is another major factor when it comes to tractor trailer accidents. As discussed above, because a large truck is not as maneuverable as a smaller passenger vehicle anytime that the driver has to make a sudden movement with their vehicle it can lead to an accident. This is even more pronounced when the truck is going over the speed limit. In addition, the faster that a truck is driving the longer that it will take them to stop. While a standard car may be able to bring their vehicle to a complete stop in an emergency in under one hundred feet, even if a truck driver sees that there is a problem ahead they may not be able to bring their vehicle to a complete stop for several hundred feet. There is a direct correlation between the speed the driver is going and the amount of time and distance it will take that driver to come to a stop.
Driver sleepiness or exhaustion
Truck drivers who do not get enough sleep has been an ongoing problem in the trucking industry for decades. While there have been both state and federal laws enacted to combat truck drivers from spending too much time on the road, many truckers will flaunt the rules in an attempt to reach their stops. In addition, many drivers report that they are under immense pressure from their companies to meet deadlines, thus they are often tacitly encouraging to drive even though they are tired.
Lack of or improper vehicle maintenance
There are many more moving parts and systems in a tractor trailer than there are in a standard vehicle. That being said, because of all of these parts and the sheer length of time that a driver is on the road, poor vehicle maintenance can lead to accidents.
Driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs
Despite well-known and pervasive laws regarding drinking and driving, many truckers ignore the laws and will drive while they are intoxicated. Even a single drink may be one too many for a trucker who has to maintain control over a vehicle that can weigh several times more than a car.
Truck drivers have arguably an elevated duty to drive carefully. Because they are considered professional drivers, truckers should be expected not to engage in reckless driving behavior. However, all too often other drivers complain of truckers changing lanes without signaling, cutting them off, and even engaging in other aggressive driving behavior.
If you have ever been in a car that has suddenly suffered from a tire blowout then you know that not only is it scary, but it is very dangerous. However, when a tractor trailer suddenly loses a tire it can be disastrous.
Poor weather conditions
Along with driving at excessive speeds, when the road conditions are less than ideal it can lead to an accident. As discussed above, it can take a tractor trailer a considerable distance to come to a complete stop. When the roads are wet, icy, or covered in debris, it can not only cause a tractor to lose control, but also to take much longer to come to a complete stop.
Overloading – When cargo is loaded into the back of a tractor trailer it has to be loaded in such a way as to avoid the cargo shifting in the back of the trailer. However, in an effort to meet deadlines, and even to fit more cargo into the back of a trailer some companies will not pack the trailers as carefully as they should, or alternatively will simply put too much cargo in the trailer. This can lead to accidents resulting from cargo shifting and causing the truck to lose control.
Unfortunately, there are endless reasons why you might find yourself in an accident with a tractor trailer. Drivers have an obligation and a duty to drive as carefully as possible given the conditions.
If You’ve Been Injured in a Truck Accident, Call a Truck Accident Attorney Today
If you have suffered severe injuries or the death of a loved one in an accident with a large truck, bus, or another commercial vehicle the lawyers at the Reiff Firm may be able to fight for you. To schedule a free and confidential legal consultation call us today.