Large trucks, such as tractor trailers and flatbeds, were involved in more than 5,300 fatal and non-fatal accidents in Indiana in 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Indiana ranked among the top 10 states with the highest number of large truck accidents.
Certain factors turn up frequently as causes of commercial truck accidents, and an experienced truck accident attorney knows how to identify those factors and recognize their significance. They may be a strong indicator of negligence on the part of the truck driver, trucking company or cargo shipper after a serious accident.
If you have been injured in an accident involving a large truck in Indiana, you need an experienced Indianapolis truck accident attorney to fight for your rights. The stakes are high in commercial truck accidents because of the great potential for serious harm, primarily to occupants of cars and other smaller vehicles. You can be sure that the trucking company contacted a lawyer as soon as the accident occurred. It is imperative that you take advantage of a free consultation with a truck accident injury lawyer to understand your legal options. Let a compassionate truck accident lawyer at Craig, Kelley & Faultless LLC review the facts of your truck accident and explain your legal options.
Common Causes of Indiana Truck Accidents
Truck accidents often involve multiple vehicles and are more complicated to investigate than accidents that don’t involve trucks. A truck accident may have multiple contributing causes. For example, an experienced semi accident lawyer at Craig, Kelley & Faultless LLC will demand access to the driver log books and schedules to analyze whether a truck driver had been at the wheel too long and was dangerously fatigued when an accident occurred. You need an experienced truck wreck attorney who has the experience to investigate the accident and identify all the contributing causes and potentially liable parties. Here is a list of common causes.
- Speeding — Tractor-trailer truck drivers involved in accidents are cited for driving too fast almost 50 percent more often than drivers of cars and light-duty trucks, according to the Large Truck Crash Causation Study, a landmark federal study of truck accidents. Nearly one-fourth of large-truck drivers involved in fatal crashes had at least one past speeding conviction.
- Driving Too Fast for Conditions — A truck driver may be driving within the posted speed limit on I-65 or I-74. But that may be too fast for the existing road or weather conditions, such as impaired visibility during winter months. A police citation for driving too fast for conditions may point to a truck driver’s negligence in an accident.
- Visibility Issues – Trucks have large blind spots in which smaller vehicles may disappear, particularly if a truck driver is inattentive. Tractor trailers have wide turning radiuses and have to swing wide to the left in order to make a right turn. If you are in the lane between the truck and the curb, a truck driver may not notice you in the blind spot and hit your vehicle with the truck trailer during the turn.
- Distracted Driving — Many truck drivers communicate with their dispatchers and offices using mobile communication devices. They consult maps and navigation systems to get directions. Each time a truck driver takes his or her eyes off the road or focuses on something other than driving, they are at higher risk of causing a distracted driving accident. Inattention and distraction are the leading causes of accidents involving large trucks.
- Brake Problems — Issues with brakes being out of adjustment or failing were cited in almost a third of accidents involving 41,000 commercial trucks, according to the DOT report on the causes of large truck crashes. Brakes are the most commonly cited problem with truck equipment. Trucking companies often fail in their legal duty to maintain brakes properly.
- Driver Fatigue —Truck drivers often travel long distances without enough rest to meet unrealistic delivery deadlines. Truck drivers may become dangerously fatigued and less aware of the changing traffic conditions around them. A lack of crash avoidance measures before an accident may indicate a driver nodded off at the wheel or was hypnotized by the highway. That often indicates a violation of the federal hours of service limits that regulate the number of hours a commercial truck driver can be behind the wheel each day and each week. Approximately one out of eight commercial truck drivers were considered to be fatigued at the time of a truck crash, according to the large truck causation study.
- Over-the-Counter Drug Use —A driver may be taking over-the-counter medications for allergies or cold symptoms that can cause drowsiness as a side effect. A drowsy driver may have slowed reflexes to suddenly changing traffic conditions and be unable to react in time to avoid a crash.
- Unfamiliarity with the Roadway — Truck drivers often make deliveries in new locations and may be unfamiliar with the nearby roads or interstate exit ramps. They may consult maps while driving or electronic navigation systems and try to do so without pulling off the highway, creating a dangerous distraction. Truck drivers were unfamiliar with the roadways in more than one out of five accidents analyzed in the Large Truck Causation Study.
- Following Too Closely — A fourth of all crashes involving tractor-trailers and other large trucks consisted of large trucks running into the rear end of an automobile, or an auto rear-ending an 18 wheeler. Tractor trailer drivers need greater distances to slow down and should moderate their speed in response to changing traffic conditions. A truck driver may be following too closely or not be paying enough attention to the road when traffic in front of the truck suddenly backs up and comes to a standstill on a highway, creating conditions for rear-end accidents.
- Rollovers — Tanker trucks have a higher center of gravity, which makes them less stable. Was the truck driver involved in an accident trained and qualified to drive a tanker truck? Trucks with a high center of gravity lean when the driver enters a turn and the liquid in the cargo tank shifts. A driver who is inexperienced at driving a cargo tanker may take a curve too quickly and cause a sudden load shift, leading a truck to roll over.
Contact an Indianapolis Truck Accident Lawyer
The Indianapolis-based truck wreck lawyers at Craig, Kelley & Faultless LLC know how to identify the causes of semi and tractor-trailer collisions. We work with traffic accident reconstruction experts to pinpoint exactly how an accident happened and build a compelling case for compensation for families harmed by negligent truck drivers and trucking companies. We have helped many victims of large truck crashes in Indiana obtain the compensation to get back on their feet after a devastating 18 wheeler crash.
After a serious truck accident, you owe it to yourself to make well-informed decisions with your family’s future in mind. Contact a truck accident attorney and let us explain how we can help.