Richardson Commercial Drivers Accident Lawyer
In communities like Richardson, TX, commercial drivers play a vital role in the local economy. These drivers transport valuable consumer goods, construction materials, foods, and other resources to businesses. Unfortunately, commercial drivers are also responsible for a number of accidents.
Commercial drivers usually operate large vehicles like semi-trucks. When these trucks crash, the results are often lethal. Commercial driver accidents also cause property damage and severe injuries. Commercial vehicles can overpower almost every other car on the road. If you’re hit by a commercial driver, there’s very little you can do to protect yourself.
It’s important to understand why commercial drivers cause accidents. Learning about commercial driver accidents can help you recover after a collision. You may also be able to reduce your risk of getting involved in an incident with a commercial driver.
Have you been injured in a commercial driver accident? If so, you should explore all your legal options. In addition to holding the commercial driver liable, you may also be able to pursue a personal injury settlement from their employer. Commercial driver cases can have large settlements if it’s determined that the company shares liability.
Call (214) 740-4556 to speak to a lawyer about your car accident involving a commercial driver. You can also schedule an appointment online. Consultations are 100% free.
Commercial Driver Accidents: Statistics and Risks
Commercial drivers operate large trucks with multiple axles, often weighing up to 80,000 pounds. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there were approximately 450,000 large truck crashes reported to police in 2017. This includes 344,000 injuries and 4,237 deaths.
Around 57% of fatal accidents occurred on rural roads, while 27% happened on interstate highways. 83% of deadly crashes took place on weekdays when more commercial drivers are on the road.
You may be wondering why commercial driver accident statistics are so alarming. After all, commercial drivers require special training and licensing. To earn a commercial driver’s license in Texas, applicants must pass a number of exams and meet rigorous qualifications. Then, to be hired as a commercial driver, individuals must:
- Be 21 or older
- Graduate from a professional truck driving school
- Pass a background check
- Pass a drug and alcohol test
Commercial drivers are also screened for medical conditions. Job applicants won’t be hired as commercial drivers if they have a health issue that could impact their driving ability, such as epilepsy or a history of heart problems.
So if a commercial driver is licensed, trained, and screened for medical issues, why do they cause accidents? Unfortunately, even the best professional driver is still prone to human error, and many car accidents occur for reasons beyond the driver’s control.
What Causes Accidents Involving Commercial Drivers?
There are many factors involved in commercial driver accidents. Sometimes, these accidents are caused by negligent driving. In other situations, crashes happen as a result of other drivers or hazardous road conditions.
Some common causes of commercial driver accidents include:
Commercial drivers often work long hours. Frequently, these drivers have tight deadlines for delivering their cargo. Weather, traffic, and mechanical problems can also slow them down unexpectedly, causing drivers to skip breaks to catch up. As a result, many commercial drivers don’t get enough sleep.
Being tired affects a driver’s ability to control their vehicle. It reduces reaction time, alters depth perception, and impacts judgment. Studies indicate that driving for 20 hours or more without resting is equivalent to driving drunk. Drowsy driving is a huge problem among commercial drivers, causing many accidents.
Impaired driving is another cause of commercial driver accidents. Impaired driving occurs any time something inhibits a driver’s ability to function. Impaired driving often happens due to drugs and alcohol. However, sober drivers can also become impaired by distraction.
Distracted driving contributes to many impaired commercial driver accidents. Commercial drivers using their phone, GPS equipment, or radios are not focused on the road. As a result, they may miss a hazard until it’s too late. When commercial drivers are impaired, they can cause accidents that claim lives.
Other Negligent Drivers
Sometimes, commercial driver accidents happen even when the driver is following all proper safety protocols. Many people don’t know how to drive safely around a huge truck. They may tailgate or pass improperly and cause an accident by being in the driver’s blind spots.
On the average semi-truck, a driver’s blind spot may be as large as 200 feet on either side of their vehicle. Responsible drivers don’t linger in these blind spots when passing a commercial truck.
Unfortunately, a driver who is speeding or demonstrating other negligent behavior may not consider these blind spots. As a result, they may be struck when the commercial driver changes lanes.
Poor Road Conditions
Poor road conditions are another accident factor that commercial drivers can’t control. This includes problems like potholes, wheel ruts, uneven surfaces, and other issues with highway infrastructure. These poor road conditions can affect a vehicle’s balance.
Commercial drivers may crash into other vehicles when the road conditions cause them to lose control of their vehicles. Their truck may skid into another car, jackknife, or rollover. Such accidents are often fatal.
Additionally, bad weather contributes to a commercial driver’s accident risk. Rain, snow, and fog reduce visibility for commercial drivers. Bad weather also creates a hazardous road surface. When a highway becomes icy, flooded, or covered with uncleared snow, a commercial driver may have difficulty controlling their vehicle.
Finally, many commercial driver accidents are caused by mechanical failure. Tractor-trailers and other heavy-duty commercial vehicles take a lot of wear and tear on the job. They need regular maintenance and safety inspections. If the truck’s owner hasn’t kept up with repairs, accidents occur.
For example, mechanical issues may cause a commercial driver’s brakes to fail. They may lose control of their truck and collide with other vehicles. In these accidents, the trucking company may be liable, not the driver. Be sure to discuss this with your accident attorney.
If you’ve been in an accident with a commercial driver, call (214) 740-4556 to discuss your options with one of our Richardson, TX lawyers.