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How Truck Drivers Cause Accidents

Posted on behalf of Lynch Law Firm on Oct 24, 2017  in Truck Accidents News

semi-truck driverWhen truck drivers operate large commercial vehicles in a negligent way, severe injuries and death are often the result. Commercial truck accidents commonly cause significant property damage along with completely avoidable casualties.

At Lynch Law firm, we protect your rights and seek justice on your behalf. Our New Jersey truck accident attorneys put their knowledge and experience to use to help you recover the compensation you deserve. We will help you determine if a truck driver caused your accident and help you obtain the compensation you need for your injuries.

Some of the most common ways truck drivers cause accidents include:

Traffic Law Violations

Truck drivers often commit the same types of traffic violations as drivers of passenger vehicles. However, when truckers commit the following traffic violations, they may wind up causing serious damage in the process.

  • Running red lights or stop signs – Truck drivers may ignore these traffic signs to try to get to their destination more quickly.
  • Speeding – Truck drivers are incentivized to get to their destination quickly when they are paid by the load. However, it takes much longer for commercial trucks due to their size and weight. That time is lengthened if the truck is speeding.
  • Aggressive driving – When a truck driver is in a hurry to reach his or her destination, he or she may become aggravated with traffic or slow drivers. Driving aggressively by cutting off other drivers, tailgating or engaging in other hostile behavior can lead to accidents.

To avoid truck accidents, it is important for commercial truck drivers to drive with the utmost care and to obey all traffic laws. 

Fatigue/Hours of Service Violations

Hours of service requirements were put in place to regulate truck drivers and to prevent accidents caused by fatigued driving. Truck drivers violate these rules when the driver has:

  • Driven more than eleven hours consecutively
  • Not taken at least one eight-hour break since the last shift
  • Driven more than 70 to 80 hours in a seven or eight-day period, respectively
  • Not used his or her sleeper berth for eight hours in a row with another two hours off duty after

Some of the factors that can motivate truck drivers to disobey these requirements include:

  • Incentives in payment when driving more miles
  • Impractical schedules that may require fewer breaks
  • Expectations that may bypass safety risks and could lead to accidents

Drivers may also commit violations by ignoring required breaks, running the vehicle too long and recording inaccurate information in their trucking logs

Impairment

Drivers may be impaired due to alcohol, drugs or other factors. Alcohol consumption lowers a driver’s cognition and motor skills, which can lead to swerving, random stops and starts, and collisions with objects or other drivers on the roadway.

Any driver of a commercial truck that has a 0.04 percent blood alcohol content can be considered impaired by alcohol and subject to criminal charges.
Illicit substances also can dull the senses and impede driving. Prescription drugs often alter body chemistry, cause drowsiness and impair motor skills.

Inexperience

It is important that truck companies closely vet truck drivers who are responsible for driving thousands of miles across the country. When the operator of a commercial truck has not been given the appropriate training and experience, accidents are more likely to occur. Before someone can acquire a commercial driver’s license, he or she must take the following steps:

  • Review the commercial driver’s licensing manual
  • Pass the commercial driver’s license
  • Acquire a commercial learners permit
  • Complete CDL training
  • Meet medical qualifications
  • Take a physical that is in accordance with U.S. Department of Transportation requirements

Distracted Driving

The most common cause of distracted driving is cellphone use. However, distractions also include video and audio in the vehicle, eating while driving, and interactions with passengers in the cab.

  • Commercial truck drivers who text and drive are more than 23 times likely to be involved in an accident than those who do not.
  • Drivers who are texting take an average of four seconds off of the roadway for each distraction.
  • Commercial truck drivers who talk on a mobile phone while driving are six times more likely to be involved in an accident.

Due to the seriousness of distracted driving, strict laws are in place to curtail this behavior. Federal law provides for the following types of penalties for commercial truck drivers who use a cellphone while driving.

Contact a New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyer

If you have been harmed or a loved one has died in an accident caused by a truck driver, you may be able to pursue compensation for the losses you have suffered. Our personal injury attorneys are experienced at handling complex truck accident claims and can help you navigate your way through this process. We offer a free initial consultation to evaluate your claim. You will not owe us anything in legal fees unless you receive compensation.

Call (800) 518-0508 to get started today.

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