Any type of car crash can result in a frightening experience and serious injuries. When a large truck is involved, the likelihood of severe trauma increases. This is due to many factors that uniquely apply to big rigs, including their immense size, large blind zones, poor maneuverability, and potentially toxic or flammable cargo.
In addition, some aspects of commercial trucking can increase the likelihood of an accident occurring in the first place. When pursuing a personal injury case after a truck accident, it is important to understand how the accident happened and whether a violation of laws or regulations contributed to it.
Lack of maintenance
Think about all the regular maintenance and upkeep you do to keep your own vehicle running. Now imagine the maintenance necessary for a commercial truck, which may cover huge distances almost every day. Tractor-trailers must undergo a strict regime of maintenance and inspection to ensure proper function. However, many companies skimp on it, unwilling to allocate the funds or the time for a truck to spend off the road. A driver under pressure to meet unrealistic deadlines may also overlook signs the truck needs maintenance or repair, or hesitate to alert the company. Over time, a consistent lack of proper maintenance can lead to serious equipment failures.
Equipment failures can also happen if a manufacturer or repair shop supplies a defective part or installs it incorrectly. In such a case, there could be multiple defendants if the driver also acted negligently. The company may also show negligence if it knew or should have reasonably known the part was faulty.
Drowsy truck drivers
Truck drivers are notoriously sleep-deprived. Sleep experts point out that a deficit of as little as two hours of sleep can affect driving safety; a greater deficit, night driving and poor sleep patterns all increase the dangers of drowsy driving. Although regulations exist mandating rest breaks for commercial drivers, many drivers, under pressure from their companies, find ways to circumvent them. Even with full compliance, these regulations may fail to address risks stemming from an irregular sleep schedule and driving for long stretches at night.