An average 18-wheeler commercial truck weighs more than 35,000 pounds when it is empty, and when it gets fully loaded, it can easily weigh up to 80,000 pounds. The weight of commercial trucks makes them difficult to maneuver, making them vulnerable to accidents. In addition, truck accidents are far more catastrophic than any other vehicle accident, especially if they collide with smaller vehicles, pedestrians, or bicyclists.
According to the National Trucking Accident Statistics, approximately 130,000 people are injured yearly in truck accidents. Suppose you or your loved one was critically injured in a truck accident in New York. In that case, you could contact a car accident attorney to seek legal guidance on recovering compensation for your suffering. Please continue reading to learn about common causes of commercial truck accidents in New York.
5 Common Causes of Commercial Trucks Accidents In New York
1. Driver Fatigue
One of the most common causes of commercial truck accidents is driver fatigue. This is especially common for drivers who work longer shifts that involve nighttime driving. Driver fatigue can also result from inadequate rest and sleep, leading to drowsiness when driving. Nodding off behind the wheel can have catastrophic consequences, not just for the driver but for everyone else on the road.
Truck drivers with demanding jobs can work more than 60 to 70 hours weekly, increasing their chances of driver fatigue. In addition, truck drivers can cover long distances within a day, and there might be little to keep them entertained. Although there are state and federal regulations to minimize incidents related to drowsy driving, they do happen.
2. Vehicle Maintenance Issues
An average commercial truck can drive 650 miles daily, which could result in excessive wear and tear on the vehicle. That is why a lack of regular maintenance is a common cause of commercial truck accidents.
The brakes are one of the most critical systems of the vehicle. Therefore, the brakes need regular maintenance to ensure brake pads and other parts are in good condition. Similarly, the tires, automotive fluids, and steering system need routine inspections to ensure safety on the road. If a truck accident occurs due to manufacturing defects, the vehicle manufacturer can be held liable.
Besides the lack of maintenance, overloading a commercial truck can also lead to accidents. Each truck has a maximum carrying capacity limit, but some fleets ignore these limits. The maximum limit for any commercial truck with pneumatic tires in New York is 80,000 lbs.
3. Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is a common cause of all road accidents, including commercial truck crashes. The roads of New York are some of the busiest in the country, and a safe and uneventful drive can instantly become a dreadful accident with a couple of seconds of driver distraction.
Common forms of driver distraction include eating, texting, checking their phone, or fiddling with the stereo or navigation system. Any form of driver distraction makes their vehicle a threat to all other road users.
Commercial truck drivers need to meet deadlines, which sometimes are extremely strict. This can be one of the reasons they can go over the speed limit.
Overspeeding is dangerous for any vehicle, but even more so with trucks, which have a longer braking distance due to their heavy weight. In addition, if the truck is carrying a full cargo load, overspeeding can cause it to lose balance when turning or changing lanes.
Accidents due to overspeeding often lead to severe injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries, which can cause permanent disability.
5. Weather Conditions
If the truck driver is not familiar with driving in poor weather conditions, such as ice, falling snow, or heavy rain, they are vulnerable to being involved in a crash.
Driving in inclement weather takes a lot of experience, especially for a truck driver in New York. Weather can be unpredictable and is not in the driver’s control; however, it is the responsibility of the driver to adjust to the road conditions. For example, New York gets a lot of snow every winter, so the driver needs to be extra cautious when driving on wet or slippery roads.
If you were involved in a commercial truck accident due to bad weather, you could hold the driver responsible for negligence. The weather conditions can require the driver to slow down or change their driving behavior, and not doing so can be considered negligence.
Establishing The Liability of a Crash
The state of New York follows a no-fault rule that implies each driver must carry PIP insurance covering their damages in case of a collision. However, if a person is critically injured in a truck accident in New York, they can pursue litigation against the at-fault driver. An attorney can guide you in gathering evidence to help prove liability in court or personal injury claims.
Different parties can be held liable for a truck accident, such as the truck or equipment manufacturer, the company responsible for loading the cargo, or the authority responsible for the maintenance of the road. A lawyer can guide you on who is liable for the accident. They can also guide you on how to gather evidence for your case. This includes incident reports, medical reports, surveillance footage, and witness accounts for the accident.
Hire an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney
Experienced lawyers thoroughly understand how the legal system works, and they can offer their expert legal advice to you. An experienced attorney also knows how to negotiate with insurance companies and handle all communications with the lawyers of the opposition party. You may be entitled to different types of damages for your suffering, and an attorney can help you get full and fair compensation for them. This includes reimbursement for your medical bills, loss of income, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, and other expenses.