Commercial Truck Accidents and Driver Distraction

Posted on June 30, 2011 at 4:51pm by

When a passenger vehicle and commercial truck collide, the aftermath may involve catastrophic injuries or even death. In 2009, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 3,163 people died in large truck crashes, and that number is on the rise. Large truck crashes usually result from driver error. In fact, according to a study published in 2007 by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 88 percent of large truck crashes are caused by error on the part of either the truck driver or passenger vehicle driver. Although coping with the emotional and physical damage following a commercial truck accident can be stressful, an Orlando accident attorney can help ease your stress by providing sound legal advice as you move forward.

Truck Driver Errors

Truck drivers operate large vehicles that can do a great deal of damage when involved in a collision, and they often drive long stretches of road in a single day. Therefore, it is essential for every truck driver to ensure his or her truck and trailer are in safe working condition and for him or her to be alert and cautious while behind the wheel. The 2007 FMCSA/NHTSA study identified the truck as the at-fault vehicle in 55 percent of the crashes sampled. The following truck driver errors can lead to deadly crashes:

  • Operating a commercial vehicle without proper training or qualifications
  • Speeding to meet a tight deadline
  • Drinking or using prescription or illegal drugs
  • Failing to properly secure heavy loads
  • Loading trucks beyond the maximum capacity
  • Failing to complete required pre-trip and post-trip vehicle inspections
  • Driving for long stretches with no break or lack of sleep, leading to driver fatigue

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed due to a truck driver’s negligence, an experienced Orlando injury lawyer can pursue your legal rights to the fullest extent of the law.

Driver Distraction

The FMCSA reports that according to the Large Truck Crash Causation Study, 8 percent of large truck crashes occur when the truck driver is externally distracted and 2 percent occur when the truck driver is internally distracted. Truck drivers can be distracted by:

  • Smoking while driving
  • Fixating on non-driving related elements like billboards and buildings (external) or a cell phone or paperwork (internal)
  • Talking on a cell phone or texting while driving
  • Eating or drinking while driving

According to the FMCSA, when a driver is distracted, he or she may gaze blindly at the road without actually seeing or recognizing the objects ahead, because his or her attention is focused elsewhere. This type of inattention increases the likelihood of a crash, as the truck driver may be unaware of vehicles near the truck, thus limiting his or her ability to react appropriately to the movements of nearby vehicles, or the truck driver may not react quickly enough to a roadway hazard if he or she is slow to notice it. If you or a loved one has been injured in a commercial truck accident that may have resulted from truck driver distraction, contact a knowledgeable Orlando injury attorney to discuss your legal rights.

As long as there are commercial trucks on the road, there will be commercial truck crashes. And when a commercial truck collides with a passenger vehicle, a compassionate and experienced Orlando accident lawyer at our law firm can help the passenger vehicle victims get the justice and compensation they deserve.



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