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Personal Injury

5 Common Types of Negligence Associated with Truck Accidents in Montana

October 17, 2019

According to statistics maintained by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTHSA), the number of highway accidents involving “big rigs” or semi-trucks is on the rise. One important factor in this increase tends to be ignored: the fact that when the national economy is booming, as it is in most parts of the country, the number of trucks on the road at any given moment tends to rise. More trucks equates to more accidents. And, as pointed out by a knowledgeable Billings truck accident attorney, personal injuries associated with truck accidents are often severe. Trucker negligence is often the cause in these sorts of accidents. Here are five types of negligence particularly common in the trucking industry.

Excessive Speeding

According to information compiled by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association, speed was a factor in 17 percent of all fatalities involving large commercial trucks in 2016. Large, heavy moving objects (commercial trucks) tend to do greater damage than smaller, lighter objects (passenger cars). Moreover, it takes greater time (and greater distances) to stop fully-laden commercial vehicles. When a truck driver speeds, it adds to the likelihood of injury and even death.

Distracted Driving

Many experts note that long hours behind the wheel of a big rig can be boring. Truck drivers are particularly likely to turn to cell phones, text message applications, two-way radios and other electronic devices to liven up the driving shift. But just as is the case with auto drivers, distracted driving is dangerous and on the rise. More than 6 percent of all fatal commercial accidents in 2016 were associated with distracted driving.

Driver Fatigue

Although this factor is difficult to measure — drivers hesitate to admit they neglected to get sufficient rest before setting out on a trip — driver fatigue is another leading type of negligence that causes vehicular accidents. Medical experts point out that when one is fatigued, one’s reflexes are slowed down. The driver tends to be less attentive to hazards and conditions on the road. This leads to many tragic accidents and serious injuries.

Improper Loading of Cargo

All too often, truck accidents are caused by improper loading of the vehicle’s cargo. When a trailer’s weight is unevenly distributed, the trailer is subject to overturning or “fish-tailing” during turns and other truck maneuvers. While this sort of negligence is not as common as speeding or driver distraction/fatigue, it can be a serious problem. Moreover, sometimes the driver is not fully aware of the improper loading until faced with an emergency. The results can be catastrophic, however, as an experienced Billings truck accident attorney.

Use of Alcohol or Drugs

Recent studies reveal that a larger number of long-haul drivers admit they have used various types of psychoactive substances, such as alcohol, marijuana, amphetamines, cocaine, and Benzodiazepines while driving. While the effects of these drugs can vary with the driver, they generally tend to slow the reactions of the driver, diminish his or her judgment, and impair the driver’s ability to react to conditions on the highway. Some drivers are subject to random drug testing, but this problem is becoming more serious.

Recovering Damages from a Trucking Accident Requires Experienced Legal Counsel

In just a second or two, lives can be altered, even lost, due to the negligence of a truck driver. Because so much is at stake, most trucking companies and their insurers have retained skilled attorneys to defendant claims filed against them. The recovery of damages requires skill, diligence, experience and imagination — the traits found in each Billings truck accident attorney at Ragain & Clark, PC. If you have been involved in a trucking accident, particularly if you have sustained personal injuries resulting from the negligence of a truck driver, you should consider retaining a skilled attorney to assist you and protect your important interests. There are important time limitations on the filing of these sorts of claims. Contact an attorney at Ragain & Clark, PC to discuss your options.