I’ve always preferred the analogy that the trucking industry represents red blood cells that deliver oxygen throughout the body. It’s a great example of the importance the trucking industry has today throughout the United States. Imagine what a grocery store would look like if the trucking industry were crippled for a week. But with the lifeblood comes a concomitant cost, specifically more trucks and commercial vehicles on the roads and highways.
The many large trucks and commercial vehicles on the highways and the numerous demands imposed upon the truck drivers have led to an increase in serious and fatal trucking accidents. Below are some major contributing factors to trucking crashes in the United States and in Massachusetts. Truck accident victims must have the right accident attorneys and team of experts to recover the financial compensation they deserve for the severe injuries trucking accidents typically cause.
Contributing Causes of Trucking Accidents and Fatal Injuries
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in 2017 there were 4,889 large trucks and buses involved in fatal crashes. This represents a 9% increase from fatal trucking accidents reported in 2016.
There are many contributing factors to these truck crashes and deaths. Investigations revealed that many crashes were due to drug use and impaired operation, truck driver fatigue, excessive speed, equipment failure, negligent maintenance, overloaded and/or improperly loaded vehicles, non-compliance with federal regulations, and negligent hiring practices.
The cause of a trucking accident is imperative for accident victims to recover the compensation they deserve. They must prove that the truck driver or trucking company was negligent and the cause of the crash and injuries in order to recover the money victims deserve.
Impaired Operation of Trucks by Drug Use
One major factor that was found to have caused or contributed to many of the reported trucking crashes was impaired driving due to drug use. While the average person may think that illegal drug use accounted for most of these crash fatalities, the greatest contributing factor was determined to have been caused by prescription drug use.
Many truck drivers were found to use prescription drugs to either help them stay awake or help alleviate pain. The demands of truck drivers force many drivers to use prescription drugs to help stay awake to meet the many deadlines imposed upon them. Also, pain killers were also determined to have been contributing factors to many crashes. Truck drivers generally sit for long periods of time driving many miles, which can cause back and neck pain. However, these prescription pain killers or medications to help drivers stay awake can impair a driver’s ability to react timely to traffic and other hazards on the roads and highways. This impair driving generally causes serious crashes.
Truck Driver Fatigue
Operating a large vehicle in traffic and sitting in the same position for hours on end has a significant effect on driver fatigue putting them at risk to make mistakes. Fatigued driving can be as dangerous, if not more dangerous than driving under the influence. Fatigued and drowsy drivers are at a high risk of falling asleep behind the wheel as well as having their decision-making skills impaired with decreased motor skills.
Despite semi-truck driver requirements to limit the hours of driving per day, strict deadlines and job pressure can lead some truck drivers to feel that they need to drive more than they should, putting them at risk of causing an accident. Driver fatigue is one of the main issues our office has dealt with in truck accident cases.
Appropriate and Quick Legal Action Can Help Truck Accident Victims
Immediate investigation is essential to represent a trucking accident victim effectively. Trucking companies will almost always employ investigators to the scene of a serious accident to try and gain an advantage with regards to liability. With a truck accident involving serious injuries, there is a lot at stake for the company and insurance carrier. Trucking accidents can also present complex legal issues.
To counter this an experienced Massachusetts tractor trailer accident attorney can move quickly to preserve evidence, collect statements, photograph damages and establish negligence on the part of the trucking company. A truck and/or trailer combination may need to be examined immediately before the vehicle or trailer is moved out of state to its place of origin. Most truck accidents involve out of state carriers bringing products into Massachusetts.
It’s also very common to see foreign carriers in Massachusetts, such as Canadian trucking companies, which pose their own complications when it comes to protecting client rights. Therefore, it is essential that truck accident attorneys are well versed in Federal and state regulations governing trucking companies.
Trucking Accidents Can Cause Severe Injuries
Common victims of trucking crashes are smaller passenger vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles, and pedestrians. They are at incredibly high risk of serious, even fatal injuries simply due to the physics involved in truck accidents.
Tractor-trailer accidents can cause catastrophic injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, fractured bones, innumerable internal injuries, and scarring, as well as death. Surgeries, therapy, rehabilitation, and astronomically high medical bills can be overwhelming not to mention the loss of income and permanent injuries that often result. In these types of trucking crashes, qualified trucking accident attorneys, investigators, and experts are necessary in the early stages of the investigation to make sure a truck accident victim gets the financial compensation they deserve for their injuries and losses.
Speak With An Experienced Massachusetts Trucking Accident Lawyer Today
Mahaney & Pappas, LLP is a personal injury law office centrally located in Framingham, Massachusetts that serves victims of accidents in Boston, greater Boston, Worcester, and all other surrounding towns. We have decades of experience representing people injured in trucking accidents, conducting investigations, and working with experts and medical professionals all with the focus on getting our clients the money they deserve.
If you have been injured in a car, truck, or motorcycle accident, we are here to help and fight to get you the financial compensation you and your family deserve. We understand the stress of being injured and can help guide you through the personal injury claim process and take the immediate action needed on your case. If you, or a loved one, has been injured in an accident, please contact us online or call (508) 879-3500 to schedule a free case evaluation.