In a single recent year, 3,921 people died in truck accidents and over 104,000 were injured, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports. Over 160 people died in North Carolina due to large truck accidents that same year. Many more were injured.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reveals that errors made by drivers of large trucks (18-wheelers, semis, tractor-trailers) were the most common cause of truck accidents nationwide. Negligent acts by truck drivers included the consuming alcohol, driving with insufficient sleep, exercising poor judgment, driving too fast and others forms of carelessness.
Have you been injured in an accident caused by a careless trucker in the Goldsboro area? Strickland, Agner & Associates can help you get the compensation you need and deserve. Contact us now for a free consultation, claim review and discussion of your legal options.
Truck Crashes: A Major Safety Threat in North Carolina
What makes truck accidents so dangerous is primarily the heavy weight and size of the vehicles. An 80,000-pound fully loaded tractor-trailer poses a serious threat to occupants of smaller vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and other road users.
Truck driver fatigue and lack of sleep are a primary cause of truck accidents. Federal and state regulations govern the length of time a truck driver can work daily and weekly. Drivers must keep a log of hours spent both driving and resting. North Carolina limits driving to 11 hours after 10 hours off duty. In many cases, these regulations are violated in an effort to deliver a load on time.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) recently reported that driver actions or a failure to act are the underlying cause of 88 percent of truck accidents. Drivers who use alcohol or medication react slowly, take risks and drive too fast – a recipe for disaster. Federal regulations require that truck drivers receive random drug and alcohol testing, but not every driver who violates the law is caught. Driver errors account for rollovers (a major cause of fatalities) when a driver is tired, speeding or when the cargo has been improperly loaded or has shifted during transport.
The driver must inspect the truck before leaving to ensure systems are functioning correctly. Damage or defects in the equipment or systems must be reported at once. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen.
Unique Issues in Truck Crashes That Our Accident Attorneys in Goldsboro Can Help You With
Unlike most accidents that involve only personal vehicles, there are potentially several parties that could share liability for a truck accident. These include manufacturers of truck parts, the owner of the truck, the truck driver, the owner of the cargo and others.
There are also more rules and regulations for tractor-trailers and other big trucks. Heavy trucks are regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and the FMCSA. North Carolina also has its own set of trucking regulations.
Federal laws hold that the company that has the trucking permit to operate the truck can be held responsible for accidents caused by the company’s negligence or that of its driver. The company with the trucking permit must ensure that trucks are in proper working condition and that cargo is safely loaded and transported.
In North Carolina the truck owner must carry liability insurance of up to $750,000. This may mean that more insurance coverage is available to pay for victim’s losses, but it also means that insurance companies may put up a bigger fight with more money on the line.
Truck drivers suffer far fewer major injuries (approximately 18 percent) than occupants of smaller cars involved in accidents, with 70 percent of passenger vehicle drivers and passengers injured. The great force and weight of a large truck colliding with a smaller vehicle is a crushing force with severe impact upon smaller vehicles, often resulting in serious injury or death.
Further reasons for truck accidents include:
- Mechanical failures, such as altering the brake system or improper attachment of the trailer
- Weather conditions
- Traffic signal defects
- Distractions and inattention
- Medication use
- Sudden driving movements or lane changes by other drivers
North Carolina Accident Lawyer Investigating Truck Accidents
At Strickland, Agner & Associates, we work closely with experts in the field of truck accident investigations. We may send our team directly to the scene to speak with police and witnesses. The best evidence may be found at the scene, yet that is not always possible.
We may be able to reconstruct the accident using data from the “black box” recorder, inspecting skid marks, measuring distance traveled, motion of the vehicles and inspecting the truck for equipment failures. Our investigators may also check driver’s log books and maintenance records for evidence of negligence.
It is important to start an investigation of a truck accident as soon as possible as evidence and witnesses may be harder to find as time passes.
Hurt in a Truck Crash? Our Goldsboro Truck Accident Attorney Can Help
If you have been involved in an accident involving a truck, protect yourself by hiring an experienced and qualified attorney. The Goldsboro law firm of Strickland, Agner & Associates has years of experience representing the victims of truck accidents.
There is no up-front charge for our services. We are paid only when we recover compensation for you. Strickland, Agner & Associates provides free consultations to truck accident victims in Goldsboro and surrounding areas. Let us give you peace of mind and the compassionate, professional legal advice that you need.
Contact us now for a free claim review and discussion of your legal options.
- NHTSA: National Center for Statistics and Analysis
- FMCSA: 49 CFR Parts 300-399
- FMCSA: Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts 2012
- NCDOT: Commercial Trucking (IRP)
- Insurance Institute of Highway Safety: Large Trucks