Few vehicle accidents are as devastating as those involving trucks. In 75 percent of such cases, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports the fatality victims are occupants of an involved vehicle or non-occupants, including bicyclists and pedestrians.
In 2010, trucking accidents killed 3,675 people and injured more than 80,000.
Progress has been made: Fatalities have declined by more than 25 percent since 4,823 motorists were reported killed in 2001. Likewise, injuries have declined from 90,000 to about 60,000 annually, even as the number of trucks on the road has increased from fewer than 8 million to nearly 11 million.
These are complex cases and must always be handled by a truck accident law firm with extensive experience in accident litigation involving large commercial trucks. In the wake of a serious or fatal crash, responsible parties may include out-of-state insurers and truck drivers, employers, out-of-state maintenance companies, truck ownership or leasing companies, sellers or buyers of transported merchandise, and even truck manufactures.
Thorough knowledge of state and federal truck regulations is also vital. While congress established the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in 2000, the truth of the matter is that the government has been slow to enact a host of life-saving regulations, including automatic speed-limiting devices, better sleep-disorder screening, better drug testing, better limitations on the use of prescription narcotics by truck drivers, installation of crash-avoidance technologies and better liability for shippers and receivers.
The U.S. is projected to create 115,000 trucker jobs a year through 2016, amid an ongoing shortage of qualified drivers. The result is that dangerous or unsafe drivers too often job-hop in order to avoid responsibility for poor safety records or positive drug tests.
Unless companies are held accountable, these drivers will continue to inflict devastation upon victims and families. By FMCSA’s own admission, the top causes of fatal trucking accidents are often the fault of the truck driver. According to the Truck Accident Causation Study, those causes include: brake problems, traveling too fast for conditions, unfamiliarity with roadway, over-the-counter drug use, inadequate surveillance, fatigue, illegal maneuvers, inattention and distraction, illness and illegal drug and alcohol use.
Among the challenges in building a injury or wrongful death lawsuit is the fact that so much of this information is unknown at the time of the crash. For instance, a truck driver may be held blameless at the scene, but what if he was violating hours-of-service regulations, has undiagnosed sleep apnea or is under the influence of narcotic painkillers provided by his physician? What if he has a medical marijuana card in a state where medical marijuana is legal and is under the influence at the time of the crash? What if he couldn’t stop in time because the trucking company failed to have his rig properly serviced?
Involved in a truck accident? You need to talk to our Plantation Truck Accident Attorney at 954-961-5100 in Broward or 1-877-961-5100 toll free anywhere else in Florida.