Commercial trucking is an essential part of the supply chain that brings food and products from locations near and far to your local store. The size of commercial trucks and the weight of their cargo make these vehicles more hazardous ordinary cars on the road. Logistics companies and regulators have created rules that reduce the risk of accidents, and deadly accidents can occur if these procedures are ignored. At the Law Firm of Steve Watrel, P.A., we have a lot of experience with identifying the root cause of trucking accidents. Here are four common causes of trucking accidents that may determine which party is liable.
Inadequate Driver Training
Operating a commercial vehicle is harder than people realize, and it’s vital for trucking companies to ensure their drivers are adequately trained. Inclement weather conditions can significantly change the way a rig needs to be driven. Unprepared commercial drivers won’t know what to do if the vehicle starts skidding, jackknifing, or hydroplaning. Logistics firms can lower the risk of costly accidents (and their potential liability) by having classes and training programs.
Poor Vehicle Maintenance
Ensuring that a vehicle is maintained correctly is essential for every driver, and it’s vital to the safety of commercial truck drivers. Commercial vehicles experience more wear and tear than ordinary cars since trucks are driven for hundreds of miles every day. If routine maintenance is skipped, it could lead to mechanical problems or equipment failure that could lead to an accident. Something as simple as a worn brake pad could be the difference between stopping in time and causing a multi-car pileup. Victims of a commercial trucking accident should have the company’s maintenance records checked to see if repair negligence contributed to the collision.
Payment Programs that Incentivize Unsafe Driving
The root cause of a trucking accident may go beyond the driver and their vehicle. Shippers and logistics firms may inadvertently create dangerous driving conditions by the way they pay drivers. For example, some compensation programs encourage faster vehicle speeds or more hours of continuous vehicle operation than would usually be advisable. Similarly, giving drivers unrealistic schedules encourage drivers to hurry, despite the safety risks involved. While it’s easy to blame the truck driver involved in the accident, looking at the underlying issues may solve the root problem. A similar situation happened in the 90s when pizza delivery chains were promising 30-minute delivery. The policy resulted in driver deaths as workers sped to their destination.
Improper Cargo Loading
Commercial trucks carry so much cargo that weight imbalances can significantly affect the safety of the vehicle. Cargo that has been loaded incorrectly can cause accidents in several ways. The shipment could fall off and become a hazard to other drivers, and the cargo itself could affect the vehicle’s steering. To prevent these issues, truckers and cargo loading teams have to abide by industry-specific rules when it comes to loading the bed of a commercial truck. These rules determine limits for weight, size, length, width, and load height. The rules also specify special methods of securing cargo for transportation.
If you’ve been involved in a trucking accident, it’s essential to have someone on your side that can help you when working with insurance companies, including filing a lawsuit if it’s necessary to get the compensation you need. The Law Firm of Steve Watrel, P.A. can help people involved in trucking accidents. Send us a message online to schedule a consultation if you have questions about a crash that involved a commercial vehicle.