Tractor Trailer Fatal Accidents
A tractor trailer truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, making it much more dangerous than a normal-sized vehicle (which typically weighs around 3,000 pounds). Let’s look at some of the facts relevant to tractor trailer fatal accidents:
• In the United States, another person is killed or injured in a tractor trailer accident every 16 minutes.
• One to two percent of tractor trailer accidents result in a fatality.
• Perhaps, counter-intuitively, the majority of fatal truck accidents occur in rural areas (68 percent), during the daytime (66 percent), and on weekdays (78 percent).
• From 1992 to 2002, the number of semi trucks involved in fatal crashes increased by ten percent. Because of the way the trucking industry works, drivers are often continued to work while tired or operating defective equipment.
• Despite economic woes, the trucking industry continues to grow.Common mechanical defects that cause tractor trailer wrecks include bad tires or wheels, breaks, engines, or steering wheels.
• Approximately 27 percent of all tractor trailer truck drivers involved in fatal accidents had at least one prior speeding conviction.
• In one survey, 1 out of 5 truckers admitted to falling asleep at the wheel in the previous month.
• According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, in accidents involving semi trucks and passenger vehicles, people in the passenger vehicles account for 98% of the fatalities.
• In Georgia, tractor trailers account for only 3% of the vehicles on the road, yet they account for 1 out of 8 auto accident fatalities.
If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in a tractor trailer accident, you should contact a lawyer immediately. Your attorney must act quickly to preserve and collect evidence. The sooner you hire an attorney, the better your case will be. In some cases, trucking companies will destroy important evidence if your lawyer cannot get to it first.
Large trucking companies have departments dedicated to denying claims and minimizing payouts. You’ll need an experienced attorney who’s not afraid to stand up to the big trucking companies and insurance companies.
As large trucking companies continue to grow, their loss minimization departments will grow stronger - and if current trends continue, they will continue to encourage truckers to drive while fatigued. Some studies suggest that fatigue plays a role in as many as half of all tractor trailer accidents.
Beginning in September 2007, the Department of Transportation adopted a rule stating that truck drivers can only drive for 10 consecutive hours, after which a lengthy restart period is required. Record keeping, however, is shoddy at best, and enforcement of this rule is lax. In surveys, the majority of drivers admit to falsifying their records. Some trucking companies will inevitably sidestep the law, making roadways more dangerous for us all.
Whether the accident was caused by a drowsy driver, driving too fast, mechanical defects, poor maintenance, or a poorly secured load, if the trucker or trucking company was at fault, MLN Law will fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Call (404) 531-9700 to schedule your free consultation.