Philadelphia Truck Accident Attorneys
Serving Clients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey
When cars and trucks collide, it is normally those in the car who suffer the greatest amount of damage. Accidents with trucks can be catastrophic and even deadly. While most truck drivers are careful and share the road well with cars, some do not. In addition, sometimes trucking companies fail to properly maintain their vehicles, leading to crashes caused by defective equipment. If you or a loved one suffered injuries due to a truck accident in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, the firm of Rodden, Rodden & Breslin is here to help.
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Truck Accidents are Common
In Pennsylvania in 2018, there were 7,336 crashes involving heavy trucks with 136 fatalities. According to PennDot, this number of crashes was the highest since 2014. Nationally, the most recent statistics available are from 2017. These statistics tell us that in 2017, 4,761 people died in accidents with trucks and that the number of truck accidents is on the rise. In addition, trucks are more likely to be involved in fatal multiple vehicle crashes than passenger cars. This is due to the size and weight of trucks versus other vehicles.
Why Truck Crashes Happen
Passenger car crashes often occur due to driver error. Distracted drivers, speeding, drugs and alcohol, all these things are common sources of passenger car accidents. Truck drivers often get into accidents for similar reasons. However, there are some issues unique to large commercial vehicles.
Vehicle Defects & Maintenance Problems
Sometimes trucks are not properly maintained or secured. The failure to properly care for commercial vehicles can cause serious accidents. For example, old and defective tires or failure to maintain brakes can cause the driver to lose control.
When the equipment on a truck fails the results are often catastrophic. Seeing a truck bear down on you because its brakes have failed is terrifying. If you are unable to get out of the way, the results can be deadly, not only for you, but for other cars in front of you, depending on the speed and weight of the truck.
Pressure on Truck Drivers
Another source of truck accidents involves the pressure put on drivers to meet their schedules. Driver fatigue is dangerous for anyone. However, due to its size and weight, if a truck veers into your lane because the driver is tired or distracted, it may be impossible to avoid no matter your best efforts. Strict laws control how long truck drivers can be on the road, but sometimes, due to the pressure to deliver, these laws are disregarded. While drug and alcohol use are not frequently the cause of crashes with commercial vehicles, they can still be an issue. Especially with drivers trying to stay awake. Similarly, some truckers speed to meet their deadlines. In addition, the pressure can make it easy for truck drivers to experience road rage and engage in aggressive and unsafe driving practices.
Failure to Provide Proper Training
Trucks are difficult to drive. Commercial trucking companies are responsible to provide appropriate training before they put their employees on the road. Unfortunately, some companies, especially if they lack drivers, do not provide appropriate training. An improperly trained driver is likely to lack confidence and may make unwise decisions behind the wheel. They may not be familiar with their truck’s large blind spots and might hit drivers or property they cannot see. In addition, untrained drivers may not know how to handle icy roads, heavy traffic, or other common road hazards.
Careless Passenger Cars – Drive Safely Around Trucks
Most truck drivers have stories of barely avoiding accidents due to careless cars sharing the road. Passenger car drivers need to drive safely next to trucks. Failure to do so can cause an accident. The crash may be the fault of a careless passenger car, but other innocent drivers may get caught up in a multivehicle crash. Sharing the road safely with trucks is the obligation of every driver. Remember these tips to decrease your chances of an accident:
- Watch for blind spots. If you cannot see the mirror on the truck, chances are the driver cannot see you. Do not stay in a truck’s blind spot.
- Provide plenty of space. A truck cannot stop quickly. If you cut off a truck, it may not be able to stop in time. If it hits you, it could easily push you into other cars.
- Do not tailgate. You should not tailgate anyone, but tailgating a truck is especially risky. Bars are required on the back of trucks because people used to end up with their cars under trucks after a rear end accident. However, even with the bars in place, the crash can still be devastating. Remember, some accidents occur due to faulty equipment. This may include problems with truck lighting. You need enough time to stop and if the lights are not working, you may not be able to stop in time. Especially if you are too close. Also, keep in mind that when a truck is stopped, it can roll back on even a slight downgrade.
- Be aware of wide turns. If a truck is turning next to you, be sure to give it plenty of space. Remember, the truck may not see you and you could end up getting hit.
- Be careful passing. If you are on a high-speed road and you pass a truck as it is going down a hill, it may pick up too much speed to stop in time. Also, remember the blind spots. Never pass a truck on the right. If it is unaware of your presence and switches lanes, you could end up in a serious accident.
Remember, truck drivers cannot see as well as you as well as you can see them. They also cannot stop as quickly as you. Share the road responsibility with trucks and you will reduce your chances of being in a collision with one.
Helping Victims of Truck Accidents in Pennsylvania and New Jersey
If you or a loved one is injured due to an accident with a commercial vehicle, the experienced truck accident lawyers at Rodden, Rodden & Breslin are here to help. We have experience representing seriously injured drivers and passengers who have been hurt due to negligent drivers and companies. Contact us today for help.