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Five Common Examples of Truck Driver Negligence

Commercial trucking is a vital part of the American economy. Tractor-trailers move everything from food to furniture to oil and gas, covering millions of miles every year. The average person expects truck drivers to be alert, skilled and safe, but that is not always the case. Truck driver negligence is one of the biggest causes of truck wrecks in California, with sometimes deadly results.

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, 7.3 percent of all fatal truck accidents in 2017 happened in California. Only Texas, at 13.3 percent, had more truck-related fatalities. While driver negligence wasn’t the cause of all of these, this illustrates the danger trucks pose to California drivers.

When representing someone who was hurt in a truck wreck, a personal injury lawyer will thoroughly investigate possible causes of the crash, including the truck driver’s actions. Some of the most common types of truck driver negligence are:

  • Speeding ꟷ Truck drivers spend long hours on the road and often want to get where they’re going as fast as possible. They are also under heavy pressure to deliver loads on time, which can be a motivation for speeding.
  • Driving while impaired ꟷ Trucking has a long history of problems associated with substance abuse. Drivers may take methamphetamines and other stimulants to stay awake and drive longer. Drinking is also a serious problem among truck drivers, as is overuse of prescription drugs.
  • Texting and cell phone use ꟷ Just like other drivers, truckers may get distracted by using their cell phones when they should be paying attention to the road. The potential for disaster is much greater for a vehicle that can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds.
  • Exceeding hours limits ꟷ Truck drivers must not exceed a certain number of hours behind the wheel in any given 24-hour period. But pressure to deliver on time leads some drivers to falsify log books and keep driving even while they are fatigued.
  • Overloading trucks ꟷ In many small trucking operations, drivers are responsible for loading the trucks as well as driving them. If the load is too heavy for the truck or the weight isn’t distributed properly, that can lead to serious accidents.

When a truck driver’s negligence causes harm to others, the injured party may be entitled to compensation. However, the injured person often has to take legal action to recover damages, because trucking companies and insurance companies do everything they can to avoid paying. That’s why it’s critical to hire a lawyer who knows how to handle truck accident cases.

At Patterson Law in Santa Barbara, we have succeeded in winning compensation for victims of motor vehicle accidents throughout California, including truck accidents. If you would like to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer, please call 888-479-4589 or contact us online.