The first emotions people usually experience after getting into a truck accident are confusion, shock and fear. Many people who are victims of truck accidents don’t survive, and it’s possible that if you were only injured, your injuries are pretty severe. You might require years of medical treatments, surgeries and therapies. While getting into a truck accident is a life-changing event that will certainly alter the remainder of your life, the fact that you’re here means that you understand your need to get compensated for the pain you’re in as well as for your losses and damages.
First, it’s important to understand as much as you can about truck accidents. Let’s talk a little bit about why truck accidents occur and then we’ll discuss if it’s possible to avoid them.
Reasons Behind Truck Accidents
There are many different reasons truck accidents occur. Like many people, you might be thinking that because truckers are professionals, they really shouldn’t be getting into many accidents. However, this is not the case. Truck accidents happen all the time.
Some truck accidents take place because truckers regularly break DOT regulations. The increased use of GPS and electronic log books have helped to eliminate these issues for many companies, however, not every trucking company uses them. A truck driver who is an owner-operator (which means that he owns his own truck and works as an independent contractor) doesn’t necessarily have any governing technology in his truck.
DOT regulations that are regularly broken include:
Driving Time Limits – Truckers are only allowed to drive for fourteen hours at a time. One day a week they can drive for sixteen hours, but that is only supposed to happen in emergency situations, such as in hazardous weather conditions that make it impossible for them to get back to the depot or complete their deliveries on time. Truckers will often ignore these rules either by choice or because they’ve been ordered to by their employers.
Keeping a Log Book – Professional truckers are required by law to keep a log book of their driving time and their idle time. This log book is supposed to be accurate, and truckers who don’t keep it updated face severe fines if they’re pulled over and inspected. Some truckers will keep two separate log books. One of them has their real driving and delivery information while the other one is perfected for the authorities in case they’re pulled over.
Time Off Regulations – According to DOT regulations, professional drivers are to have ten hours off between shifts and they are only allowed to work sixty hours per week. They are further required to have thirty-hour hours off after working for sixty hours in a week.
Failing to keep any of these regulations has serious penalties associated with it, but those penalties are often not enough to keep truckers from breaking the laws. Many companies offer generous bonuses to the drivers who keep their delivery times low or who are able to run additional loads during the week than they’re scheduled for. As a result, truckers get tired and often make mistakes while they’re driving, or they drive too fast and cause accidents.
Is it Possible to Avoid Truck Accidents?
It is absolutely possible to avoid some truck accidents, but not all of them. For example, make sure that when you’re traveling on a busy highway, you never drive alongside a truck for an extended period of time. You could be in his blind spot and if he changes lanes, you could get into an accident. You should also be careful not to change lanes too quickly in front of a truck or slam on your brakes. Either of those actions can cause an accident for which you would be held at least partially responsible.
Hopefully this section has helped you improve your understanding of why truck accidents take place. In order to fully understand, a lawyer for truck accidents will be able to talk with you about your specific case in more detail.
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