Truck accidents are an, unfortunately, common element on the news throughout the country and right here in Chester County. Just recently there was an accident involving a tractor-trailer and four other vehicles near Route 340 in Caln Township Chester County. While the news report on the accident did not reveal a definitive reason for the accident it did note that Pennsylvania State Police were investigating the accident for suspected driving while under the influence.
If you have been involved in an accident with a tractor-trailer particularly where the driver was negligent, don’t hesitate to contact a truck accident attorney.
Accidents Caused by Truck Driver Negligence
Driving a tractor-trailer, big rig, semi truck, or other commercial vehicle takes an incredible amount of concentration and skill. However, there are many accidents that involve these vehicles because the driver did not commit the amount of focus and energy that is required of them. There are a number of errors that truck drivers routinely make that can cause accidents and injuries. Over the past several decades the attorneys of Reiff & Bily’s Truck Accident Team have seen the following accidents caused by trucker negligence:
- Rear-End Collisions – Rear-end collisions are generally defined as when a driver crashes into the back bumper of the vehicle in front of them. The reasons behind a rear-end collision are general because the rear driver was driving too close, too fast for the road conditions, carrying too much weight and cargo for their vehicle, falls asleep, or loses attention. However, while a rear end collision can be minor when there are cars involved when you place a vehicle that substantially outweighs and is several times larger than a standard vehicle, then there is a possibility that the car or SUV will be pushed under the truck.
- Improperly Loaded Trucks – Trucks are designed to carry cargo. However, that does not mean that a driver can just shove anything they want into the back of their trailer and drive away. Drivers and those who load cargo need to pay close attention to how they load the vehicles. Cargo that is not properly placed in the back of a trailer can cause an accident for the driver and for those behind the vehicle. Unsecured cargo can roll in the vehicle causing the tractor-trailer to shift in its lane, jack knife, or even flip. Additionally, if cargo is not properly loaded it can cause cargo to fall out of the vehicle and injure drivers behind the truck.
- Left Hand Turns – Left-hand turns are notoriously difficult for every vehicle to make. This is often because the driver has to pay attention to both directions of traffic. However, larger trucks, semis, big rigs and other commercial vehicles have an increased challenge when they are making a left-hand turn. These vehicles require a larger turn radius. If a driver does not have enough space they can cause their vehicle to jack-knife or may even hit another vehicle in the turn radius. Because these turns take longer to complete all drivers need to be aware when a tractor is turning. If a tractor turns in the line of an oncoming vehicle if can cause the smaller vehicle to be pinched or shoved under the body of the trailer which often results in catastrophic injuries.
- Driving while Fatigued – Truck drivers are under a lot of pressure from their employers and from their customers to get the products to them on time. This often causes drivers to skip out on sleeping and to drive through the day and night to get to their destinations. While there are federally and state enacted laws known as Hours of Service Regulations which are designed to prevent drivers from becoming too fatigued, it is a well-documented fact that drivers do not receive enough sleep and often drive in violation of these provisions.
- Stopping a Truck on a Shoulder or Roadway – You probably have seen drivers on the side of the road, and you probably have seen large tractor trailers on the shoulder. Truckers often pull on the side of the highway when they are too tired to drive any further. However, generally this is not a good practice and drivers are required to place warning markers behind their vehicles that they have pulled on to the side of the road. Despite this requirement, many drivers do not and this has lead to many other vehicles being involved in an accident.
- Traffic Violations – Truck drivers are professional drivers who are expected to not only know the rules of the road but to follow them. However, long hours spent driving and frustration can often cause a driver to become inattentive, fatigued, or even aggressive in their driving. Failing to stop at a traffic signal or light, failure to signal when executing a lane change, speeding, and tailgating have lead to traffic violations and also accidents.
Any of these events can lead to an accident. When a driver does not follow the rules of the road they can be said to be negligent if they cause an accident, and this is the basis for many truck accident cases.
CONTACT OUR PENNSYLVANIA TRUCK ACCIDENT Attorneys TODAY
To schedule a private, no-cost evaluation, call our law offices at (800) 861-6708 or contact us online. If the statute of limitations expires, your window of legal opportunity will close and you won’t be able to pursue a claim.