Three Common Causes of Commercial Trucking Accidents
If you've been involved in an accident with a commercial truck, determining who was at fault is essential to getting the money that you deserve, if you were not to blame. Unfortunately, these cases can be tough to prove. Understanding some of the most common causes of truck driver accidents may help you to build your case, and it may also be a good idea to contact a truck accident lawyer. Here's a look at three of the most frequent causes of accidents by truck drivers and tips to help you prove them.
Driver fatigue is one of the most common causes of accidents for commercial truck drivers. Fatigue can cause drivers to not only be drowsy behind the wheel, but it can lead to inattentiveness, an inability to judge gaps in traffic and poor reaction time. While there are federal regulations in place limiting the number of hours that commercial truck drivers can be on the road without rest, violations do happen.
If you have any reason to suspect that driver fatigue may be to blame for your accident, talk with your attorney about obtaining copies of the driver's log book. Even if the log book has been written to show that the driver followed proper regulations, you may be able to prove otherwise if you retrace the driver's steps and talk with people where he or she claims to have rested.
You should also consider the timing between each of the destinations on the log to determine reasonability. For example, it wouldn't be possible for the driver to have rested at a stop eight hours away and then caused an accident at the scene four hours after he or she was supposed to have left that stop.
When you think of accidents caused by drugs, you probably think of illegal drugs first. When it comes to commercial truck drivers, sometimes prescription drugs are the bigger concern. After an accident with a commercial truck, make sure that your attorney seeks medical records that clearly show any prescription medications that the driver might be taking. You can also request copies of the drug tests conducted by the driver's employer, as trucking companies typically administer random drug tests. Sometimes, prescription medications are identified in these tests as well.
Driver mistakes behind the wheel are also common causes of trucking accidents. Some of those mistakes include things like failing to clearly check blind spots. Large commercial trucks have larger blind spots, which can make for serious safety concerns when changing lanes. If you have any reason to believe that the driver wasn't monitoring blind spots, or you have witnesses who can speak to erratic driving, make sure to gather that information.
Improper handling of the truck, such as taking curves too fast, poor load distribution or depowering the front brakes are also common causes of trucking accidents. Load distribution and front brake issues can be detected during mechanical evaluations, but you'd need to have witnesses if the driver was taking corners too quickly or being otherwise erratic. Consider requesting GPS data from the trucking company, as it may help to prove your case based on driver speed and similar factors.