Truck accidents between tractor trailer drivers and passenger vehicles seems to be on the rise in our region. As such, injuries and deaths associated with these accidents are also on the rise in Pennsylvania. Truck drivers individually log hundreds of thousands of miles a year and the companies they work for count on their drivers to meet time-sensitive deadlines that could otherwise cost them thousands of dollars if those deadlines are not met. Although many truckers tend to get a bad rap, the truth is that the majority of them follow company policies and federal laws; however, there will always be those few who make poor decisions and break the rules for their own selfish benefit.
Truck accidents happen all over Pennsylvania, nearly every single day. However, when the truck is owned by or under the employ of a major fracking conglomerate there may be several parties at fault.
Following truck accidents, it is possible that those involved will suffer serious injuries, or even worse. When truck accidents occur it is not surprising that someone who is hurt might seek compensation for their injuries from the driver or drivers responsible for the crash. But just what is necessary to successful in this type of case?
Late last year, a horrific multiple-vehicle accident occurred along a Pennsylvanian highway east of Pittsburgh when a commercial tractor trailer barreled into the rear of a car that was stopped due to other truck accidents. The initial crash sent off a chain reaction that included eight cars and trucks, resulted in three deaths and eight injuries.
Drivers of commercial trucks have a lot of responsibilities. Due to a commercial tractor trailer's size and weight, truck accidents are particularly dangerous and often result in serious injuries or death. In response to several recent high-profile truck accidents, the federal agency tasked with regulating the safety and use of commercial tractor trailers and smaller trucks is stepping up safety inspection efforts.
If you have been involved in one of the many truck accidents that take place every winter here in Western Pennsylvania, then you're lucky to be reading this because chances are that you may have been killed and have likely suffered serious injuries. The sheer mass of a commercial tractor trailer offers you virtually no room to avoid a collision when one seems imminent. Many truck accidents end in lifelong injuries and one in every eight end in at least one fatality. And the number one reason for these accidents is driver fatigue. Even the best truck drivers in the world need rest. Unfortunately, however, truck drivers spend long hours on the open road each day to ensure their loads reach customers in a timely manner. When drivers don't get enough sleep, they fail to safely operate what are essentially multi-ton death machines speeding down highways at speeds of up to 75-80 mph.
Drowsy driving is one of the main causes for car and truck accidents here in the United States. Even though the danger may seem obvious, two out of five drivers admit to falling asleep while driving according to a car accident study recently released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. According to the same study, about 17% of fatal car and truck accidents are caused by drowsy drivers. The study looked at car crash information from 2000 to 2012.
When trucks are overloaded or are carrying a heavy equipment and the driver fails to safely maneuver residential streets, the outcome can be devastating. Commercial tractor trailer drivers should know the details of their loads and understand the limits of their trucks to avoid truck accidents. Likewise, manufacturers who build lock straps and trailer hitches should ensure that they can in fact support the weight that they guarantee their products can support.
Commercial truck drivers are an integral part of our struggling economy. With the great boom of domestic oil and gas drilling that has changed Pennsylvania over the past few years, for better or worse, it is the truck driver who keep everything literally and figuratively moving. However, with the heavy burden of making pick-ups and deliveries on time so as to work as cost effectively as possible, there is substantial stress on drivers to work as hard as they can and, regardless of companies' policies, get just enough rest to function for ten hours at a time behind the wheel of what can essentially be an 80,000 pound death machine barreling down the highway at speeds of up to 80 miles per hour.
Recently, Goodrich & Geist represented a family of a 44 year old physician killed by a truck driver on an interstate in Ohio. The truck driver was speeding in a work zone and violated safety regulations for the number of hours a truck driver may drive in one day.