Tractor Trailer Accidents in Columbia
Were you injured in an 18 wheeler accident?
Were you or someone you care about recently injured in a tractor trailer or 18 wheeler accident? While automobile collisions are frightening experiences, passenger sized vehicle accidents cannot be compared to truck accidents involving large commercial trucks weighing 10,000 to 80,000 pounds or more. When a smaller passenger sized vehicle is crushed in a tractor trailer rollover or when a smaller passenger car is rear-ended by an 18 wheeler, the occupants of the smaller vehicle barely stand a chance and most of the time the driver of the commercial truck walks away completely unscathed.
The Federal Motor Carrier Administration (FMCA) reports that in 2006, there were 77,000 injury crashes involving large trucks, and 4,321 of those ended in fatalities. When you combine 2006's truck accident statistics including property damage only, injuries and fatalities, there was a total of 368,000 truck accidents in that year. In 2006 there were a total of 42,642 traffic fatalities, and 4,995 of those were killed as a result of a truck accident. The FMCA reports that between the years 2001 and 2003, the average cost per a truck crash in 2005 dollars was $91,112.
Hours of Service
In 2005, there were 8,481,999 large trucks on America's roadways, so it's safe to assume that a certain percentage of these tractor trailers and 18 wheelers would carve a slice out of the total number of traffic collisions.
In the U.S. all commercial truck drivers who operate a commercial truck that weighs 10,001 pounds or more, or any driver that operates a vehicle that is used to transport 16 or more people is required to comply with the FMCA's hours-of-service regulations. For example, for the compliance date of July 1, 2013, it states that the driver is only allowed to drive if 8 hours or less has passed since the end of their off-duty period of at least 30 minutes.
As of February 27, 2012, drivers or those allowing a driver to drive 3 or more hours beyond the driving-time limit could be considered an egregious violation (shockingly bad) and may therefore be subject to the maximum civil penalties. Under the current property-carrying CMV driver rules, drivers can only drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty and drivers cannot drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after they come on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off-duty.
As you can see, the FMCA takes tired driving very seriously and unfortunately trucking companies have a track record for pushing truck drivers to deliver their loads as quickly as possible, and by doing this they have set safety rules aside and put the lives of others on the road in grave risk. In the past, many drivers have not only driven too fast to deliver a load, but they have driven their massive loads on too little sleep; too little sleep can cause blurred vision, double vision, and it can cause the driver to fall asleep at the wheel. Tired driving is one of the main factors why so many truck drivers have turned towards stimulants such as methamphetamines to keep them awake for hours on end, and this poses a whole other set of dangers on the road.
Causes of Tractor Trailer Accidents
There are a number of causes of tractor trailer accidents, and in cases where the driver of the 18 wheeler was at fault, driver negligence was the culprit, meaning the accident was preventable. Common causes of truck driver negligence include:
- Driving with an over-loaded truck (causing a roll-over)
- Texting while driving
- Distracted driving
- Reckless driving (driving too fast for conditions, tailgating etc.)
- Drunk driving
- Drug use (including pharmaceuticals that make the driver drowsy)
- Tired driving or lack of sleep
- Mechanical Failure (bad breaks etc.)
Tractor trailer accidents can cause extreme devastation to those involved, not to mention serious property damage to the other vehicles involved in the collision. If you were injured in a tractor trailer or 18 wheeler accident, we urge you to contact Brent Sumner from The Sumner Law Group to discuss filing a claim for compensation.