Negligence in Truck Accident Cases: 5 Examples

If you have been in an accident with a commercial tractor trailer, the truck driver or the company that hired him could be found negligent and liable for your injuries, if it can be proven that their negligence led to the accident and your injuries.

In 2006, the NHTSA did its Large Truck Crash Causation Study, and the findings were illuminating. The most cited factors in tractor trailer accidents were the following:

• Driving too fast for conditions
• Tailgating
• Inadequate surveillance or failure to look
• Illegal maneuvers
• Internal driver distraction, such as cell phone use
• External driver distraction
• Inattention
• Driver fatigue
• Unfamiliarity with the roadway
• Over-the-counter and/or illegal drug use
• Use of alcohol.

Below is more information about the most common types of negligence in truck accidents.

Engaging in any sort of activity that takes the truck driver’s attention from his driving is a form of distracted driving. Far too many people, including some truck drivers, attempt to multi-task when they are driving. But there is increasing awareness that distracted driving is a serious problem with truck drivers.

Truck driver inattention and distracted driving has been a growing problem over the last 10 years as use of cell phones and texting and driving are blamed for more truck accidents. Most states have now banned texting and driving, and federal trucking laws also ban truck drivers from using a cell phone while they are driving.

In addition to using electronic devices while driving a truck, distracted driving happens any time the truck driver diverts his attention from driving to engage in another activity. These include:

• Texting on a cell phone
• Using a smartphone for surfing the Internet
• Eating and drinking
• Talking to passengers
• Talking on a CB radio
• Grooming
• Reading, looking at the GPS for directions
• Watching videos
• Adjusting the radio.

Driver Fatigue

Fatigue is a problem that can strike any driver, but it is a major problem with truck drivers. Truckers drive long hours and are typically paid by the mile. So there is motivation for truckers to drive far past when they need rest. There also is pressure from trucking companies to get loads to their destination on time, so truckers may push themselves to meet the delivery schedule even when they are exhausted. It is true that federal law now limits how long truckers can drive in a certain period of time, but far too many fatigued truck driver accidents continue to occur across the country.

Drowsy truck driver accidents can happen at any time, but they are most common between 12 a.m. and 6 a.m. This time period is when our bodies naturally want to sleep. This is also the time that many truckers drive because there is less traffic and fewer other distractions, so they can make more miles in less time.

Driving Too Fast for Conditions

Truckers often speed. The federal government reports that driving too fast for conditions accounts for nearly 25% of all truck crashes per year.

Investigating this issue after a truck crash can be difficult, as truckers usually are loathe to admit they were speeding. Many, but not all, trucks today have data recorders on board. Different recorders will record different types of data.

If there is a data recorder on the truck, it is vital for your personal injury attorney to get access to it. Note that driving too fast for conditions does not always mean they were speeding.

Using GPS

A growing problem with truckers today is having accidents while they are looking at their GPS navigation system. Truckers need to be able to know where they are going, and GPS devices are very useful in this regard. But using one and getting into an accident is a form of distracted driving. If the trucker injures you due to using a GPS and gets in an accident, he could be held liable in a lawsuit.

Eating and Drinking

Far too many truck drivers do not want to stop to eat and drink, and so they do it while driving. This is a type of distracted driving that can cause serious truck accidents.

If any of these possible causes apply to your truck wreck, you should seriously consider contacting a truck accident lawyer.

AUTHOR: Guajardo & Marks, LLP

Copyright Guajardo & Marks, LLP

Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication at the time it was written. It is not intended to provide legal advice or suggest a guaranteed outcome as individual situations will differ and the law may have changed since publication. Readers considering legal action should consult with an experienced lawyer to understand current laws they may affect a case. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

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