Whenever you share the busy Kentucky roads with big rigs, you risk the lives of yourself and your passengers. The sheer size of semis, tractor trailers and 18-wheelers, combined with highway speeds, limit the chances of those in much smaller passenger vehicles to escape unscathed in the event of a collision. Many commercial vehicle operators do not realize how many lives they threaten by making even minor errors while driving.
It is not surprising that big rig vs. car accidents often cause fatalities because fully loaded big rigs can weigh as much as 25 times more than automobiles. Hazardous cargo loads such as industrial waste, gasoline or other flammable or toxic substances could exacerbate the risks.
Truck operator errors
Although most commercial truck drivers take particular care to drive safely and not endanger the lives of others, you will never know which truckers are prone to making some of the following errors:
- Drivers who exceed the allowed hours of driving per shift can become fatigued.
- Noncompliance with prescribed safety guidelines can cause devastating crashes.
- Unbalanced or unsecured loads can fall or make the truck uncontrollable.
- Exceeding the weight limit of a truck also hampers the operator’s ability to maintain control.
- Some drivers use alcohol, drugs and medications that cause impairment.
- Commercial truck drivers without special licensing could be untrained and inexperienced.
- Even licensed commercial truckers might not have the necessary defensive driving training.
Some truck operators do not realize that they can only learn safe trucking by experience, and the fact that they have a license does not make them a safe big rig driver.
If you were involved in an accident that involved a commercial vehicle, the trucking company might be to blame. It is not uncommon for logistics companies to have unrealistic expectations, setting the truckers up for accidents. The following pressures might feature in these cases:
- Tight deadlines can cause truck operators to rush loading cargo, often leading to improper, dangerous loads.
- Unrealistic expectations cause excess stress and fatigue.
- Drivers who experience financial pressures might violate safety regulations.
- Truck operators who struggle to cope economically might exceed speed limits to cover more miles and get as many loads hauled as possible.
As long as trucking companies set unrealistic schedules, you and your passengers might remain at risk.
Equipment malfunction and failure
Even the safest commercial truck operators cannot avoid accidents that result from defective and malfunctioning parts. The trucking company is responsible for the maintenance and servicing of the vehicles, but other parties might be liable under these circumstances. These include the manufacture of defective equipment, the mechanic or other installer or repairperson, the company responsible for refurbishing the part, and the seller.
Help is available to recover damages
You or any of your loved ones who have to deal with the consequences of a truck accident might be overwhelmed by the trauma. However, an experienced Kentucky personal injury attorney can assess the circumstances and determine whom to name as defendants in a civil lawsuit. A lawyer can advocate for you in the court, and work to get financial relief to cover documented claims for economic and noneconomic damages.