Did Poor Truck Maintenance Cause Your Accident?
Our ever-increasing consumer demand for goods puts more and more trucks on our highways and byways. More trucks lead to more truck accidents, which are among the deadliest on our roads. Because of their massive size and weight, semis simply dominate smaller vehicles in accidents, and the results are often disastrous. While many truck accidents are caused by driver negligence, truck accidents can be caused by a variety of factors, including poor truck maintenance.
Like every vehicle that hits the road, tractor-trailers need regular maintenance—but it goes beyond that. Massive commercial trucks are such highly calibrated machines and they pose such a danger that they have much more rigorous maintenance requirements. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration mandates the regulations that pertain, and every trucking company is required to systematically inspect, maintain, and repair its fleet.
If you’ve been injured in a truck accident that was caused by faulty truck maintenance, you need skilled legal counsel. The dedicated legal team at Dolman Law Group in Clearwater, Florida, is here to help. Our experienced truck accident attorneys have the skill, tenacity, and compassion to help guide your claim toward the compensation to which you’re entitled.
Truck Accidents: The Statistics
Truck accidents happen, and the related statistics are sobering:
- In 2015, there were nearly 4,000 fatalities caused by commercial truck accidents.
- Truck-accident fatalities rose by 22 percent in 2015 (compared to the 2009 fatality rate).
- Only three percent of truck accident fatalities in 2015 were occupants of the truck’s cab. In other words, the occupants in the other vehicles are far more likely to die.
- Eleven percent of all traffic fatalities in 2015 involved big rigs.
Truck accidents are dangerous accidents, and faulty or poor maintenance can play a significant role.
Semis and Maintenance
Semi-trucks are enormous, complex machines that are extremely dangerous when they’re poorly maintained. There are three primary components that are most closely associated with dangerous accidents:
Brakes are obviously a critical safety component of every vehicle on the road. Safely working brakes are what allow us to come to safe stops. The braking systems in tractor-trailers are intricately calibrated mechanisms that require carefully scheduled inspection and maintenance to ensure they’re in safe working order. When a truck’s brakes malfunction, it can lead to deadly accidents.
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s Brake Safety Day in 2017 conducted thousands of brake inspections on commercial trucks throughout the United States and Canada. The Alliance pulled 14 percent of those trucks inspected off the road for brake safety violations. The fact is that semis sometimes roll with substandard brakes, and they make our roadways more dangerous for everyone.
Tires connect every vehicle to the road on which it travels, and 18-wheelers have, well, 18 of them. Tires are elemental to every vehicle’s roadworthiness, and this goes double for semis. When one of a semi’s tires blows—and if you do any highway driving, you’ve seen it happen—it can lead to serious accidents. When a semi driver loses a tire or experiences a faulty tire, that driver’s ability to safely handle the massive truck is greatly reduced. Additionally, the flying rubber of a blown semi tire can lead to dangerous secondary accidents. The tires on commercial trucks require regular inspections, maintenance, and repair.
Semis are called articulated vehicles because they have moveable joints, known as coupling devices, that connect trailers to their cabs. These couplings devices allow enormous trucks enhanced maneuverability, but a faulty or poorly maintained coupling device can lead to devastating accidents, including jackknife accidents.
Jackknife accidents are terrifying, and they occur when a coupling device allows a semi-truck’s trailer to fold back in on itself—much like the motion made by a closing jackknife. A truck’s coupling device requires regular and thorough inspections and maintenance.
The trucking company manages a fleet of semis, and it’s the company’s responsibility to keep that fleet in safe working order. This responsibility is broad and incorporates overarching truck maintenance schedules, including regular inspections, regular maintenance routines, and repair work that aligns with industry safety standards. Further, the trucking company is responsible for the mechanics whom they hire to do the actual maintenance and repairs. If the company makes the dangerous decision to hire unqualified or inexperienced truck mechanics, it can be held liable for the mechanics substandard – and thus dangerous – work.
Our need for consumer goods doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, so the trucking industry will keep on trucking despite the risks. Trucking is a fast-paced business that runs on tight schedules and even tighter deadlines, but skimping on inspections, on maintenance, or on repair work is a dangerous proposition. Trucking companies are responsible for the corners they choose to cut and for failing to adequately maintain their fleets.
Trucks, because of their enormity, are inherently dangerous. When trucks that are poorly or faultily maintained hit the road, they endanger everyone with whom they share that road. Trucking companies should never put rigs on the road that aren’t safely maintained and road worthy. If they do, they can be found legally responsible for any damage that ensues.
If You’ve Been Injured by a Poorly Maintained Semi, Contact a Clearwater Truck Accident Lawyer Today
Florida sees its share of devastating truck accidents. If you’ve been injured in a truck accident involving a faultily maintained truck, you need skilled legal counsel. Truck accidents are some of the most violent accidents on our roads, and if a trucking company’s negligence has caused you or someone you care about to be injured – or worse – you’re entitled to just compensation. While no amount of money can ever return you to your pre-accident self, legal compensation can help you better travel the path toward physical and emotional recovery.
The dedicated truck accident attorneys at Dolman Law Group in Clearwater, Florida, understand how difficult these claims are and are committed to aggressively advocating for your rights and for your rightful compensation. We’re here to help, so please contact or call us at 727-451-6900 for a free consultation today.
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765