If you or a loved one have been involved in a semitruck or other large commercial vehicle accident in Alabama, it is important that your Tuscaloosa truck accident law firm begin investigating who caused the wreck and what you could be entitled to in damages as soon as possible. In many instances, your Cross & Smith personal injury lawyers are going to find that truck driver negligence either caused or contributed to the accident.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there were nearly 150,000 large truck crashes that resulted in personal injury in 2017 alone (latest data available). Truck driver negligence is a common cause of trucking accidents where catastrophic injuries and wrongful death result.
Alabama roadways, like all American highways, are congested with 18-wheelers and other large commercial vehicles, often operated by drivers who are engaging in one or more of these dangerous behaviors: speeding, distracted driving, drowsy driving, tailgating, alcohol and drug use.
Truck drivers are under a lot of pressure from truck owners and others to reach their destinations at a certain time. Meeting these deadlines is a priority, and sometimes the trucker’s job depends on it. Speeding becomes the normal way to make up for lost time, and is often the cause of serious accidents.
Even if they are keeping within the posted speed limits, truck drivers — like all of us — are required to drive at a safe speed for the current road conditions. Driving too fast during bad weather when visibility is low or on slick or damaged roadways can cause an accident.
Like most people, truck drivers rely on electronic devices — like cell phones, tablets, and dashboard GPS equipment — to help them through their day. Our Tuscaloosa truck accident law firm has encountered cases where truckers were texting, checking for directions, chatting on the phone, and even watching videos while driving. Use of these devices while driving is a huge contributor to the number and severity of 18-wheeler and other large truck accidents.
As many as one out of eight commercial truck drivers involved in a motor vehicle crash may have been too tired to drive at the time of the wreck, according to a FMCSA large truck causation study. Many drivers suffer from sleep disorders, like sleep apnea, which means they may not get the full recommended amount of sleep or are chronically sleep deprived.
Drivers are sometimes paid based on the number of miles they drive, which gives them the excuse to keep driving even when they need to stop and go to sleep. These trucking companies do not seem to care that this payment method encourages drivers to violate the federal laws that limit the hours a commercial truck driver can be behind the wheel.
Many commercial truck drivers are risk takers. They will tailgate other vehicles, even though they are well aware that semitrucks and other large commercial vehicles require greater distances to slow down or stop than other vehicles. Following too closely behind another motor vehicle can cause deadly rear end crashes.
Some truck drivers operate their commercial vehicles while under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs, putting other motorists and their passengers at risk. Even drivers who take lawful prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications can end up suffering from side effects that include drowsiness and other types of sensory impairment. Regardless of the kind of substance that is being taken, a driver who operates a vehicle while impaired is creating a danger to everyone else on the road.
If you or someone close to you has been injured or killed in an Alabama trucking accident, we encourage you to speak with a Cross & Smith truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. You can bet the trucking company is already working to protect their driver from claims of negligence and you need to have an advocate on your side to protect your rights. To speak with a member of our Tuscaloosa truck accident law firm team, please contact us online or call our office at (877) 375-0256 for a free confidential consultation.