A dump truck or tractor-trailer is considered a commercial vehicle. Many different factors can cause or contribute to a dump truck or tractor-trailer accident.
Dump trucks and tractor-trailers are generally considered to be commercial vehicles used for business purposes. This could mean a large semi transporting goods or products over long distances, or a dump truck transporting heavy loads of dirt or rocks.
Accidents involving commercial vehicles can create problems that are very different from the ones in auto accident cases. For instance, commercial truck crashes usually involve federal regulations and complicated insurance coverage issues. There are also some unique factors that can cause a dump truck or tractor-trailer crash.
What Are Some Issues That Cause Dump Truck and Tractor-Trailer Crashes?
Dump trucks and tractor-trailers are taller than most other vehicles, which can increase the risks to people in a car if a crash happens. Some other reasons for a commercial truck accident to be caused include:
- The safety record of the truck driver
- The safety record of the trucking company
- The qualifications of the truck driver to drive that vehicle
- The hiring practices of the trucking company
- The quality of the company’s background check to ensure that driver was safe
- The physical and mental condition of the driver at the time of the crash
- The condition of the commercial vehicle at the time of the crash
Dump trucks can haul between 26 and 27 short tons of aggregate per load. Each truck is capable of 3-5 loads per day. Dump trucks are normally built for some amount of off-road or construction site driving. The driver is protected by the chassis and height of the driver’s seat. Bumpers are either placed high or omitted for added ground clearance. This creates a hazard for those that collide with a dump truck.
One major disadvantage to the design of some commercial trucks is that in a collision with a standard car, the car’s entire motor section or luggage compartment could go under the truck. If this happens, the passengers in the car may be injured more severely than they would be in a collision with another car. This basically becomes a guillotine bar.
What Are the Most Common Causes of Dump Truck and Tractor-Trailer Crashes?
The most common causes of dump truck and tractor-trailer crashes are brake problems and drivers traveling too fast. Fatigue and pressure from the carrier, tire problems, and distractions are also significant causes of commercial truck crashes.
The single most important factor in reducing the number of crashes involving commercial vehicles is driver training. In addition, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has determined that driver distraction is a problem for commercial truck drivers. The most significant distractions are cell phone usage and texting.
Driving these vehicles without proper training and not keeping up with commercial truck maintenance can present huge risks to your safety out on the road.
Many dump truck and tractor-trailer drivers are paid by the load, which creates an incentive for drivers to haul more loads. Unfortunately, making as many runs in a day as possible can lead to speeding, taking shortcuts on safety and reckless driving–as well as collisions.
How Often Do Dump Truck and Tractor-Trailer Accidents Happen?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2018 there were 531,000 large trucks involved in crashes throughout the United States, causing 4,951 fatalities and 151,000 injuries. Errors, mistakes, and negligence contribute to more than half of all truck crashes. An estimated 15.5 million trucks operate in the U.S., and two million are tractor-trailers.
Can the Driver’s Employer Be Held Responsible for the Accident?
If a crash happens involving a commercial vehicle, the truck driver and the company that owns the truck could be found at fault for the accident taking place.
If the driver is an employee, the company can be held responsible for any negligent actions that the driver commits while they are on the job, including causing a traffic accident to happen. Some ways a company can be held responsible for their employees are:
- Lack of training for drivers
- Failing to perform safety inspections
- Exceeding the legal limit for truck weight with cargo
- Pressuring drivers to meet unrealistic deadlines
Companies that hire contract drivers also could be held responsible if they:
- Provide trucks that do not meet safety inspection standards
- Use unskilled, under-trained drivers
- Pressure drivers to haul oversized loads
- Promote driver fatigue with unrealistic deadlines for hauling loads
- Require a driver to do something like texting, or talking while driving
If the victim does not survive, the family or the estate may file a wrongful death claim. An attorney with trucking accident experience is needed in a dump truck or tractor-trailer case. Our job is to represent your rights and get the best outcome for your recovery.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a dump truck or tractor-trailer accident and need help getting compensation for your injuries, call Tampa Personal Injury Attorney, Martin J. Hernandez at 813 229 5353 or visit us online to get started with a free consultation.