Commercial trucks are an essential component of Alaska’s economy, distributing vital goods to and from the state. However, Alaska residents should understand the dangers that tractor trailers can impose on other motor vehicles. From drowsy and distracted truck drivers, to equipment failure and unsecured loads, there are a number of contributors to large truck accidents in the U.S. In 2012, over 3,800 Americans were killed in large truck accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
COMMON CAUSES OF TRUCK ACCIDENTS
Motorists should be on the lookout when maneuvering around commercial trucks in Alaska, as there are a myriad of different factors that can cause a tractor trailer accident. According to a reputable insurance agency, some of these causes include:
- Driver fatigue: Although the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration places strict regulations on the length of time a truck driver can spend behind the wheel, some drivers continue to drive long hours in an attempt to meet deadlines or increase their paychecks.
- Adverse weather conditions: Truck drivers are at higher risk for jackknifing, tipping over or sliding in snowy, windy, rainy, icy and foggy conditions.
- Driver distractions: The FMCSA has banned commercial motor vehicle operators from texting on cellular devices while driving.
- Weight and size differences: A tractor trailer can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, which affects its ability to stop, turn and operate in traffic.
- Improper weight distribution: Trucks that are not loaded properly are more likely to tip over.
Equipment malfunction can cause deadly truck accidents as well. According to KRTV News, a family traveling to Helena in a pickup was killed when their truck collided with an off-duty fire truck traveling in the opposite direction. After weeks of investigation into the cause of the accident, it was found that several components of the fire truck’s front drive train had failed, causing the driver to suddenly swing into oncoming traffic, hitting the pickup truck.
WHAT IS BEING DONE?
The FMCSA has updated the hours of service regulations, reducing the number of hours that commercial truck operators can drive each day and week. They have also set inspection, maintenance and repair regulations, mandating that companies and truck drivers ensure their trucks are safe before driving on the roadways. Motor vehicle drivers are encouraged to drive cautiously around commercial trucks as well.
PARTNER WITH AN ATTORNEY
Whether you have been involved in a large truck accident or have lost a loved one due to the negligence of a truck driver, you may want to consider enlisting the help of a personal injury lawyer. Truck accidents can result in extensive pain and suffering, physical injuries and emotional trauma to all who are involved. A knowledgeable attorney can help you investigate your options when it comes to collecting the compensation you deserve. Call today.