In 2016, semi trucks drove an estimated 175 billion miles in the U.S. based on an article from Popular Mechanics. That means 18-wheelers are clocking millions of miles each year. With such a large number of commercial trucks on the roads constantly, the probability of an accident happening is high. Truck drivers work extremely long shifts resulting in numerous reasons for accidents to occur. Below are a few causes of 18-wheeler accidents.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, drivers can only drive a maximum of 14 hours at a time. The driver may only complete a 14-hour shift if it is following 10 full hours off duty. During the 14 hour shift, drivers are required to take 30-minute breaks, allowing them to only be on the roads for 11 hours during their shift. Keeping the regulations in mind, 11 hours of driving with only 10 hours off prior, requires them to drive more than a typical 8-hour job would require. Sitting for a long period of time while staring at a road could cause drivers to become tired. With little rest during the shift, the odds of them falling asleep at the wheel could increase. Many truck drivers fall prey to “white line fever or “highway hypnosis” essentially it is a state where the driver is physically present but mentally detached from what they are seeing.
Lack of Proper Training
In order to obtain a commercial driver’s license in the state of Alabama, you must be 18 years or older, provide required identification, provide valid insurance, submit a background check and pass a list of skills tests depending on which license you are trying to obtain. Although drivers are required to attend a truck driving school, the line of proper training may not be met. Some schools place an emphasis on in-class training, causing a lack of hands-on experience. Companies will hire truckers right out of school due to their shortage of drivers. With truck drivers in high demand, the number of inexperienced drivers on the road increases.
Exceeding Weight Limits
18-wheelers are required by law to follow a set weight limit based on the size of the truck. To ensure this law is enforced, weigh stations are lined across highways. Trucks are required to exit and weigh in at every station. An oversized truck could create an increased impact in the event of an accident. These weight limits are strictly enforced but are usually overlooked. If a driver fails to stop and weigh and is not pulled over, the probability of an accident caused by exceeding weight limit can become higher.
Another reason big truck accidents occur is the failure to perform required maintenance on the vehicle. Although truckers are required to learn how to maintain and identify problems with the truck, some may not be giving it enough attention. If the drivers do not conduct the maintenance required, it could result in a possible malfunction on the road, causing an accident.
If you have suffered from an 18-wheeler accident, we are here to help. The attorneys at Lewis & Feldman will review your case and provide you with the highest quality of legal help. We have handled numerous truck wrecks over the last 30 years resulting in significant compensation for our clients. One such case resulted in a $3,750,000 settlement for all parties. Our office can be reached at (205) 254-6060 or toll-free at (888) 295-7409 for a free, no-risk consultation about your case.
No representation is made that the quality of legal services performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.