Large commercial trucks are the lifeblood of the Georgia economy. These vehicles are essential in providing goods to the residents of our state as well as transporting the goods that we produce to others throughout the country. However, a large commercial truck crash is much more dangerous than a crash involving only regular passenger vehicles. Here, we want to discuss why truck crashes often lead to devastating injuries and fatalities on Georgia roadways.
A truck’s size and weight
Commercial trucks are so much larger than other vehicles on the roadway, and this presents significant dangers if an accident occurs. According to data available from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a fully loaded tractor-trailer can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds and reach lengths of more than 70 feet. When compared to a traditional passenger vehicle that weighs around 4,000 pounds, it is easy to see why these crashes can result and such devastation.
Drowsy or fatigued truck drivers
Commercial truck drivers are required to abide by hours of service regulations set forth by the FMCSA. These requirements dictate how long a truck driver can operate in a single workday as well as how many hours they are allowed to operate during a workweek. It is crucial that drivers follow these regulations in order to prevent drowsy or fatigued driving.
It is not uncommon for truck drivers to want to operate for longer than they are allowed. This could be because of pressure from their employer to speed up the delivery. However, fatigued truck drivers are much more likely to make mistakes behind the wheel.
Dangerous or improperly loaded cargo
All cargo must be loaded properly on a commercial truck. This includes properly loading cargo inside of an enclosed trailer as well as on an open-air carrier. If an enclosed trailer is improperly loaded, inadequate weight distribution could lead to the truck becoming off-balance at high speeds. If an open-air trailer is improperly loaded, this could lead to the possibility of the cargo coming loose from the trailer and falling off. Any cargo that falls off of a tractor-trailer on the roadway will present significant hazards to other drivers.
Most common injuries suffered in a truck accident
Accidents involving large commercial trucks regularly lead to devastating injuries for those involved. It is not uncommon for drivers and passengers inside of traditional vehicles to sustain the following injuries in these accidents:
- Broken or dislocated bones
- Crush injuries
- Spinal cord injuries with paralysis
- Other severe back and neck injuries
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Open head wounds
- Internal organ damage or internal bleeding
In addition to these traumatic injuries, it is not uncommon for truck crash victims to sustain significant emotional and psychological trauma as a result of the crash, their injuries, and the recovery process.
Who can be held liable for a truck crash?
There may be various parties that could be held liable following a commercial truck crash. Often, a car accident attorney will discover that these accidents were caused by the careless or negligent actions of a truck driver or trucking company. If a truck driver is responsible for a crash, it may be possible to hold the trucking company responsible for the incident through vicarious liability.
Additionally, if a truck crash was caused by the failure of the truck itself or a faulty vehicle part, then a manufacturer or maintenance crew may be held responsible for the incident.