Tractor trailer and other commercial truck accidents have become all too common on Mississippi roadways, as well as on highways throughout the U.S. Just recently, in Tupelo, a mother and her two year old daughter were killed by a runaway tractor trailer that pummeled into their parked vehicle. Earlier this month, eight people, including five children, were sent to the hospital following an accident in which a tractor trailer hit a pickup truck. Four children were thrown out of the pickup truck and the front of the truck was ripped off. Meanwhile, just days ago in Lucedale, there was a fatal accident involving an 18 wheeler and sedan driven by a Florida man.
It is undeniable that the rate of tractor trailer and other commercial truck accidents is alarming. To help you better understand the reasons for these accidents, the following is a list of the most common causes of tractor trailer accidents:
- Truck driver fatigue—fatigue or drowsiness of the driver significantly increases the chance of all accidents, but is especially common among truck drivers. Truck drivers are often on the road long hours with little rest. Statistics show almost half of all long haul drivers have fallen asleep at the wheel. Drowsiness is believed to be the cause of the Tupelo accident in which the tractor trailer hit the parked vehicle. A personal injury attorney with knowledge of the federal trucking regulations can guide you in a claim involving a fatigued truck driver.
- Exceeding hours of service requirements—related to fatigue, a common cause of tractor trailer accidents is the driver’s violation of hours of service requirements. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration sets strict guidelines for commercial driver’s hours of service. These regulations dictate how many hours a driver can be on the road for, and how many hours of rest a driver must maintain. Drivers are required to keep a log documenting such things. However, far too many truckers violate the regulations by falsifying their log books. This leads to fatigue and other unsafe driving, which often leads to accidents. An experienced trucking lawyer will check to determine whether the truck driver involved in the accident was in compliance with the hours of service laws by checking items such as gas receipts, bill of ladings, and trip tickets.
- Speeding—speeding is dangerous when it comes to any vehicle, but when you are driving an extremely large and heavy tractor trailer, speed can be deadly. Truckers are often under harsh time constraints to get their haul to the intended destination. This can lead to speeding. Despite the existence of governors to control the speed of a truck, many companies do not use them as they are expensive. A trucking attorney with knowledge of the industry can often determine the speed at which a truck was going at the time of the accident using the “black box” inside the truck.
- Distracted driving—truckers are on the road long hours and often use that time to talk on the phone, text, eat, email, and do any number of other activities that take their eyes off the road. Glancing down for even a second when driving an 80,000 pound tractor trailer at a high rate of speed can lead to catastrophic events. A skilled personal injury attorney can pull cell phone records to determine if a driver was on the phone or investigate other sources of distraction to maximum your recovery and hold the driver accountable for their negligence.
At the Giddens Law Firm, we have over 13 years experience representing individuals injured in trucking accidents. Our team of skilled attorneys will fight tirelessly to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Call us today at (601) 355-2022 to schedule a free case evaluation.