Truck accidents can happen for many reasons. While semi-trucks, by their nature, pose a greater safety threat than cars and passenger vehicles, most truck drivers are safe drivers who understand the risks involved in operating such a large, heavy vehicle. Unfortunately, even the smallest distraction or lapse in judgment can cause an accident. Even one oversight in maintenance of the vehicle can cause a deadly problem down the road.
It is usually the occupants of other vehicles who pay the price when truck accidents happen. In a single recent year, 3,964 people were killed in large truck collisions, as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Only 691 of the people who died were occupants of large trucks. The remaining 3,273 fatalities were non-occupants or occupants of other vehicles.
At Cohen & Jaffe, LLP, we understand the common causes of truck accidents and how accidents involving trucks and passenger vehicles occur. Our firm thoroughly investigates accident claims in order to pursue maximum compensation for our clients.
We are here to help with everything. Contact us today for a free consultation. We represent victims of truck accidents on Long Island and beyond, including Nassau County, Suffolk County, Queens and throughout the New York metro area.
Causes of Truck Accidents
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) published a Large Truck Crash Causation Study in which the various factors that contribute to commercial truck collisions were analyzed and ranked according to their relative risks. Common causes of truck accidents include:
- Driver fatigue – FMCSA has issued Hours of Service Regulations limiting the number of consecutive hours that commercial truck drivers are allowed to be on the road, and requiring rest breaks at certain intervals to help prevent driver fatigue. When truck drivers violate these regulations, they put other motorists on the road at risk.
- Failure to follow safety regulations – Commercial trucking companies and their drivers are subject to a number of regulations issued by FMCSA for the safety of commercial vehicle drivers and the general public. Violations of these safety regulations can result in accidents, injuries and death.
- Failure to properly load trucks or secure cargo – When large trucks are not loaded properly, cargo can shift in transit and cause crashes. Cargo shifts are assigned a high relative risk importance by FMCSA.
- Alcohol or drug use – Over-the-counter drug use was a factor in 17 percent of the large truck collisions in the FMCSA study, while illegal drugs contributed to another 2 percent of the accidents. Driver alcohol consumption was a contributing factor in only 1 percent of the collisions studied. The legal blood alcohol limit for commercial truck drivers in most states and according to FMCSA regulations is only 0.04 percent – half the limit for non-commercial drivers.
- Aggressive driving – Driving too fast for conditions, making illegal maneuvers and following too closely contributed to a total of 37 percent of large truck accidents in the FMCSA study. Aggressive driving in passenger vehicles is dangerous enough, but when large trucks are driven aggressively, it can be terrifying for other motorists.
- Unrealistic schedules and expectations – Truck drivers are sometimes pressured by their employers to push themselves to the point of fatigue. The FMCSA study found that drivers felt under work pressure in 10 percent of the accident cases studied.
- Equipment failure stemming from defects – Large truck crash causation researchers found brake failure to be the No. 1 contributing factor involving equipment problems.
- Insufficient truck maintenance – Failure to properly maintain any of the equipment in a large rig could result in brake, tire or other equipment failure, causing accidents.
At Cohen & Jaffe, LLP, our Long Island truck accident attorneys can thoroughly examine your accident and all evidence in order to pursue a successful outcome at the settlement table or at trial.
Our Long Island Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help
Always talk to a personal injury attorney before giving statements to an insurance adjuster and before signing anything. It costs nothing to have us evaluate your case. Call Cohen & Jaffe at 866-878-6774 for a free consultation or contact us online and we will respond immediately. We can come to you.