Don’t Become an Ohio Truck Accident Statistic

August 13, 2012

Auto Accidents

Ohio truck accidentEvery year more than 2,500 persons are killed in accidents involving large trucks, according to traffic safety data from the National Highway Safety Transportation Administration (NHTSA).  Another 78,000 persons are injured in crashes involving “semis.”

If a member of your family is seriously injured or killed in a truck accident,  you may need an advocate who knows how to identify what factors contributed to the crash and who can prove the facts to a jury.  An advocate will interview witnesses and contact those who can testify about the practices of a trucking company or a driver.  If equipment is at fault in the wreck, a personal injury lawyer will find others who had problems with similar equipment.

Many people are not aware that state and federal agencies heavily regulate the trucking industry and send a representative, or even a team of experts, to all major large truck accidents and any accident where transport of hazardous materials is involved.  Trucking companies also have their own representatives, or even a team of evaluators, who investigate serious accidents.  Sometimes the company will claim evidence and fail to release it for “legal reasons.”

An independent accident investigator may reveal information not cited in the federal or company reports.  This information could be beneficial to an injured party.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates the number of consecutive hours a driver may continue behind the wheel without a break.  Drivers are required to keep a logbook that tracks miles traveled, loads hauled, hours on duty, consecutive days worked, weight hauled and other requirements.  The company may be held liable for damages incurred in an accident if a driver does not log properly or operates a vehicle not in compliance with state law.

Some drivers violate these rules to meet tight delivery schedules and/or to make more pay.  This creates fatigue and results in errant driving.  The latter drivers also often commit fraud by preparing a second logbook which meets regulations and indicates the driver followed the rules when in actuality, he did not.

A company can be held liable for compensatory (compensation) and punitive damages in the accident.

When a collision results between a large truck and a passenger vehicle, it may or not be the fault of the truck driver.  Some of the things to look for if you are able to observe the crash:

  • Does it appear the truck driver or any other driver involved in the accident is under the influence of drugs or alcohol?
  • Before the crash, did you witness the driver speeding or going too fast for conditions?
  • Does it appear the semi may be overloaded?
  • Is there anything about the roadway that may raise questions?
  • Did you notice the truck driver texting or on the cell phone or distracted by his GPS?

Although nearly one-fourth of large truck drivers involved in fatal crashes had at least one prior speeding ticket, according to NHSTA statistics for 2008, the latest data available, only two percent of truck drivers involved in fatal accidents had blood-alcohol levels beyond legal limits.

The U. S. FMCSA performed an extensive study of large truck crashes a few years ago and found the following top ten factors leading to truck accidents: (cited in order of which factor was rated the highest cause of accidents):

  • Vehicle brake problems
  • Driving too fast for conditions
  • Unfamiliarity with the roadway
  • Roadway problems (i.e. poor design)
  • Over-the-counter drug use
  • Inadequate surveillance
  • Fatigue
  • Pressure from carrier to complete job
  • Illegal driving maneuvers
  • Inattention

Without experienced legal representatives who are familiar with current statutes and federal and state regulations, you may not receive the compensation you deserve in a car/truck accident.  Whether the accident is the result of the recklessness of the truck driver or the negligence of his employer, or both, it is advisable that a knowledgeable Ohio personal injury lawyer be contacted as soon as possible.

Please contact the Ohio accident law firm of Slater & Zurz, LLP for a free consultation by calling 1-800-297-9191 or by contacting us through our website slaterzurz.com

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About slaterzurz

Slater & Zurz LLP is an Ohio law firm of highly experienced and respected attorneys. Over the last 40 years, we have developed a reputation for getting positive results for clients. We've been trusted with handling over 20,000 personal injury cases and our clients have received more than $120,000,000.

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