The commercial trucking industry is the lifeblood of the American economy, with thousands of semis/18-wheelers on American roads and highways at any given moment. But according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), around half a million accidents involving these trucks occur every year and the fatality rate is much higher than your average auto accident. The size and weight of these commercial vehicles mean that those in passenger vehicles are far more likely to suffer serious injuries or even death as a result. So what causes these accidents, and who is responsible?
Driver Negligence or Poor Training
Due to the possible dangerous nature of the job, states require truck drivers to have a commercial driver’s license (CDL) to operate such large vehicles. This often includes a background check, a written test, and sometimes a driving test. But even with such certification, truck drivers can still cause accidents through negligent or reckless actions behind the wheel. Improper driving behaviors like speeding, sudden lane changes, or failing to exercise awareness on the road can easily cause an accident under the right circumstances. In addition, if the trucking company fails to properly vet their employees or provide them the necessary training to do their jobs safely, the results can be disastrous. After all, because commercial trucks can weigh 20 to 30 times as much as a regular car, and the laws of physics dictate that smaller, lighter vehicles will bear the brunt of the physical damage should a collision take place.
Drinking, Drugs, and Distracted Driving
Just like with anyone, if a truck driver consumes illegal drugs or alcohol before getting behind the wheel, they are at a higher risk of causing an accident. While drunk driving may be obvious, truck drivers may take amphetamines or “uppers” to continue driving when they should stop and sleep. In addition, many trucking companies may place unrealistic deadlines on their fleet, forcing drivers to drive drowsy and put themselves and other drivers at risk in order to keep their jobs. Distracted driving is also an issue, especially with the ubiquity of smartphones and other portable digital devices.
Improper Maintenance and Defective Vehicle Parts
Trucking companies have a duty to make sure their trucks are as safe as possible when they hit the roads, which means proper maintenance and regular inspections of each vehicle in their fleet. For example, if a truck needs new brake pads and fails to receive them in a timely fashion, a resulting accident can be much more devastating than if the same incident happened with a regular passenger vehicle. In these cases, the injured parties may pursue legal action against the trucking company or trucker, depending on who is responsible for the maintenance. At the same time, there might be a defective part in the truck or the trailer that causes a collision. If this is the case, the truck or trailer’s manufacturer can be held liable for any damages from the personal injury lawsuit instead of the trucking company or the driver.
Contact A New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Truck Accident Today!
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries or pass away in a truck accident in New Jersey? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party or their insurance company to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Silverman and Roedel, LLC represent clients injured in motor vehicle accidents in Paterson, Wayne, Newark, East Orange, Hackensack, Garfield, and everywhere else in New Jersey. Call (973) 772-6411 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 1187 Main Avenue, Suite 2C, Clifton, NJ 07011.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.