Dallas, 09/23/2016 /SubmitPressRelease123/
Always consult with a truck accident lawyer, who can provide the information needed to determine if a lawsuit against the trucking company is warranted.
Commercial vehicles like freight and delivery trucks often cause more damage than small cars when they are involved in accidents because of their size, coupled with the danger of spilling whatever they are transporting.
Recent truck accidents in the U.S. have highlighted this fact, and serve as a warning to motorists in passenger vehicles to be aware of the potential threat posed by these behemoth trucks on the highways.
Truck Accident Spills
Brazoria County, TX – Earlier this year, a tanker truck filled with chicken steroids rolled over and blocked the highway, according to a report filed by the Brazoria County Sheriff’s Office.
The truck accident occurred at around 3 a.m. on FM 2917 near the FM 2004 marker. Brazoria County Sheriff’s Office deputies did not disclose the cause of the accident or who was at fault.
However, deputies did report that two people were taken to the hospital, though they did not reveal the extent of their injuries.
The chicken steroids that the truck was transporting were moved to another truck. Northbound and southbound lanes were blocked as crews cleaned up the accident site.
Eden Prairie, MN – In April, a tractor-trailer that was transporting a ton of meat, struck a median on Interstate 494 during the morning commute, according to a report filed by the Minnesota State Patrol.
The truck accident caused numerous packages of sausage to spill onto the opposite lane, blocking traffic for several hours.
State Patrol reported that the driver of the truck had suffered a health issue prior to the accident and that the driver lost consciousness, causing the truck to swerve into the median.
The driver was not injured, and there were no reports of car accidents caused by the spill, or of damage to other vehicles.
Dayton, OH – Another truck accident spill occurred in June 2015, when a truck carrying more than 800 live pigs overturned, killing as many as 500 pigs, and setting free as many as 400 pigs from the wreckage.
West, TX – In January 2015, an 18-wheeler that was transporting frozen French fries, rolled onto its side, spilling its load across Interstate 35.
Although no injuries were reported, the truck spill closed both lanes on the highway as crews worked to clean up the site.
Houston, TX – In another Texas truck-spill accident, an 18-wheeler crashed into a small vehicle on the westbound lanes of Katy Freeway, spilling cases of beer onto the road. The crash took place in September 2014, and there were no reports of injuries.
Summit, SD – The driver of a tractor-trailer fell asleep while driving in June 2014, and when his eyes opened, he yanked the steering wheel too hard, causing his truck to flip onto its side, spilling cases of Bud Light.
The truck accident occurred on Interstate 29, which is just north of Summit. Cleanup crews were dispatched to remove the beer. There were no reports of injuries.
Rocky Mount, NC – In January 2015, a truck transporting ramen noodles was involved in an accident on the I-95, according to ABC-affiliate WTVD-TV.
Larry Scholting, the driver of the truck, said he fell asleep while driving, and woke up just as his truck smashed into a guardrail. The truck veered off-road and struck a highway bridge, cutting open the cargo space, and spilling ramen noodle packages onto the road.
Although there were no injuries reported, the main lanes were closed as cleanup workers removed the ramen and diesel fuel from the road.
“I kind of drowsed off,” Scholting said in an interview with WTVD-TV, “and next thing I knew, I had taken out the guardrail.”
Lake Samish, WA – A truck carrying porta-potties was involved in an accident with a small vehicle on the I-5, according to a local police report.
The truck accident happened on the southbound I-5 in the afternoon, though the exact details were not disclosed.
Because the porta-potties were full at the time of the accident, a Hazmat team was dispatched to the accident site to clean 20 gallons of human waste that had spilled onto the highway.
Traffic was stalled for five miles as the Hazmat team cleared the biological waste for the next two-and-a-half hours.
Truck Accident Statistics
From 2004 to 2009, fatal truck accidents decreased by 33 percent, according to a report issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). But fatal truck accidents increased by 20 percent from 2009 to 2013.
In addition, the FMCSA reported that from 2013 to 2014, there were 81,000 truck accidents that caused some type of property damage, an increase of 31 percent over that same period the year before.
The FMCSA reported that truck accident percentages as a total of all motor vehicle accidents were expected to remain steady or rise, because of the increase in commercial delivery vehicles on the road, as well as driver inattention, driver fatigue, and the lower margin of error associated with driving larger vehicles.
Truck Accident Spill Statistics
In 2014, there were nearly 47,000 barrels of hazardous liquids spilled, according to a reported issued by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), with nearly 50 percents of those spills, recovered.
That same year, there were more than 700 separate spill incidents of hazardous liquids, which caused 19 deaths, 96 injuries, and $310 million in property damage.
And as startling as those numbers are, that’s a drastic reduction from 2013, in which truck-related spill accidents accounted for $1.5 billion in property damage.
Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents
The FMCSA undertook a major study several years ago to determine the most common causes of truck accidents, in an effort to lower the number of crashes.
The report identified the following causes:
- Driver Error — The FMCA coded ‘driver error’ as any error related to lack of performance, lack of recognition, decision-making, and improper performance. Non-performance included incidents in which truck drivers fell asleep or suffered a medical impairment that compromised driving ability. Lack of recognition included incidents in which the driver was distracted or did not observe a posted road sign or road warning. Decision-making included incidents of excessive speed, or tailgating, and improper performance included incidents in which a driver over-corrected or experienced panic.
- Vehicle — Equipment or mechanical failure were coded under this category, and were another prime cause of truck accidents. In addition, loading was also cited as a main cause of trucking accidents. Commercial vehicles that are not properly loaded can cause shifts in the cargo hold that imbalance a truck, and cause it to tilt to one side or the other during a sharp turn.
- Environment — This included all weather-related factors, as well as the condition of roads and streets at the time of an accident. Poor weather included fog, rain, hail, snow, intense brightness due to sunlight, and excessive wind. Bad road conditions included slippery roads, roads with obstructions, roads with potholes, and roads that were not properly lit or marked for night driving.
Associated Causes of Truck Accidents
In addition to the most common main causes of truck accidents, the FMCSA also identified these associated causes:
- Brake problems
- Prescription drug use
- Traffic congestion
- Unfamiliar roads
- Alcohol use
Motorist Safety Tips
Smaller cars are at a distinct disadvantage when driving on roads with large trucks and commercial delivery vehicles.
The American Trucking Associations (ATA) has developed a Share the Road campaign that includes some tips that motorists in small passenger vehicles can follow to lower the risk of colliding with a truck:
- Keep A Safe Distance — Motorists should avoid driving too close behind a truck or commercial vehicle. ATA recommends keeping 2o to 25 car lengths between a small vehicle and a truck, which gives the driver of the small vehicle enough time to avoid a collision.
- Pass Safely — After changing lanes to pass a truck, drivers of smaller vehicles should glance into their rear view mirrors to ensure that they can see the truck’s headlights before switching back into the truck’s lane. Improper lane passing can lead to a collision with a truck, because trucks need a much longer time to come to a complete stop, than smaller vehicles.
- Avoid Excessive Use of Technology — Drivers of smaller vehicles and truck drivers should limit their use of onboard technology as well as mobile devices while driving. Distracted driving is a major factor and also a contributing factor to many motor vehicle accidents, and includes talking on a mobile phone, using navigation devices, and using entertainment systems such as a built-in DVD player.
But despite all the precautions motorists may take, they may still be involved in a truck accident, caused by a spill, or by some other type of error on the part of the truck driver.
Drivers in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, and in Houston who have have suffered an auto accident in which a truck driver was at fault, should consult with a truck accident lawyer, who can provide the information needed to determine if a lawsuit against the trucking company is warranted.
Whether the accident was caused by a mechanical failure in the truck, driver distraction, or a driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol, victims have the right to seek compensation for pain and suffering, medical bills, and loss of income.
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