Truck Accidents causes can be divided into three distinct categories. They can be weather related, equipment failure related, or simply caused by the driver. In some cases it can be a combination of more than one reason. For example, a driver going too fast when the road was slick due to rain or snow can cause a crash. Here in Texas, fog sometimes in combination with smoke from wildfires are significant contributors to major truck accidents and deaths.
If you have been involved in an accident with a heavy truck it is important that you seek the advice of a trucking accident lawyer, who understand the issues and causes of these types of accidents.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the agency responsible for overseeing America’s truck industry has developed a Safety Measurement System (SMS) to help in the task of improving highway safety in the truck industry. This system uses seven Behavior Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs) to evaluate the safety performance of truck companies. They are:
UNSAFE DRIVING – Operating in a careless or reckless manner. Method of evaluation – Traffic Violations: Speeding, Reckless Driving, Improper Lane Changes and Inattention.
FATIGUED DRIVING – Drivers who are ill, fatigued or violate the Hours-of-Service (HOS) regulations. Method of evaluation – Exceeding HOS, and incomplete or inaccurate logbook, and operating the truck while ill or tired.
DRIVER FITNESS – Drivers who are unfit because of lack of sufficient training, experience or because of medical conditions.
CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES and ALCOHOL – Drivers who are impaired due to alcohol, illegal drugs or misuse of either prescription or over-the-counter medications. Method of evaluation: citations for use or possession of controlled substances or alcohol.
VEHICLE MAINTENANCE– Failure to properly maintain equipment. Method of evaluation: citations for brakes, lights, and other mechanical defects as well as failure to make required repairs.
CARGO RELATED – Failure to prevent shifting loads, spilling cargo and unsafe handling of hazardous materials. Method of evaluation: Citations for improper load securement, cargo retention and hazardous material handling.
CRASH INDICATOR – An evaluation of a trucking companies crash history based on data from State provided crash reports which help identify histories or patterns of high number of crashes, including both the frequency and severity of such accidents.
Most truck drivers are paid on a “per mile” basis. The more miles that a driver completes, the larger that his paycheck will be. While the maximum number of hours a driver is supposed to complete is mandated by the HOS, keeping track of those hours is the sole responsibility of the driver himself. It’s similar to the fox guarding the chicken coop. Some drivers have even been known to keep dual paper logs. One for the truck, the second for their paycheck. If they will cheat their employer, they will do almost anything illegal.
Accidents with heavy trucks can cause life changing injuries and often, death. Truck drivers who have been negligent must be made to pay. Your case could help make the highways safer for others. So how do you choose a lawyer?
Here are some things to consider:
The number of years your lawyer has been litigating these cases.
The understanding your attorney has for what is involved in cases such as yours.
An attorney with a good track record is essential.
The attorney has been recognized by law associations with awards and distinctions.
Truck drivers have a difficult job and in these economic times the temptation to cheat must be very high. But you, as an accident victim, should not have to pay for the mistakes of others! If you have been involved in such an accident it is prudent that you contact a truck accident lawyer to assist you in obtaining just compensation.