Like all motor vehicle accidents, tractor-trailer collisions can and do occur for a variety of reasons. While some truck accidents are truly blameless, most collisions are a result of negligence. This negligence may be on the part of the truck driver, another motorist, the trucking company that owns/operates the vehicle, or even the truck manufacturer.
Read on to learn more about some of the most common causes of truck accidents and if you were injured in a truck accident or lost a loved one in such a collision, reach out to the Virginia truck accident attorneys at Breit Cantor Grana Buckner as soon as possible. Our team has handled countless truck accident cases in Richmond, Virginia Beach, and throughout the state; in fact, we’ve recovered some of the largest personal injury verdicts and settlements in Virginia. Find out how we can help you begin the process of rebuilding your life.
Call (888) 635-9500 or fill out and submit an online contact form to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation with our legal team today.
Defective Brakes & Truck Accidents
Brake failure is a relatively common cause for tractor-trailer and truck accidents. Unfortunately, these types of mechanical failures are often evidence of dangerous negligence on the part of truck drivers. Federal regulations require truck drivers and trucking companies to perform regular safety checks and scheduled maintenance for their vehicles. It takes the average 18-wheeler the length of two whole football fields to come to a complete stop. For obvious reasons, working brakes are extremely important in operating a massive tractor-trailer. Semi-trucks need an elite braking system in order to operate safely.
When that doesn’t happen, accidents can occur, such as:
- Jackknife accidents
- Out of control trailers
- Loss of vehicle control
Trucks are equipped with complex braking systems and safety back-up features. The standard brakes work as a pressurized air system. Many are also equipped with a back-up set of emergency brakes that use springs and cables. If properly maintained, experts say that it is very unlikely for truck brakes to simply “go out” without warning
Title 49 under the Code of Federal Regulations requires truck drivers to complete a thorough brake inspection every single day while on the road. Truckers must write down any potential issues in their daily log. Truckers must also ensure that these problems are repaired before they get back on the road. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. Too many truck drivers fail to obey the rules and put others at risk.
Overloaded Truck Accidents
Overloaded trucks are dangerous and can cause major accidents. These trucks violate federal trucking regulations and put other drivers on the road at serious risk.
Tractor-trailers can extend to about 80 feet in length and can haul as much as 80,000 pounds. That’s 20 to 30 times the weight of a regular passenger car. This puts a great deal of excess strain on the vehicle’s braking system, which is why fully-loaded tractor-trailers take much longer to come to a full stop—a length that is roughly the equivalent of two football fields.
For these reasons, the way a truck is loaded is critical. Improper loading or overloading of a vehicle can have catastrophic results. That is why federal trucking regulations require commercial truck drivers to stay within specific loading limits and to adhere to certain requirements when loading their vehicles in order to avoid being overweight.
The amount a truck can carry is determined by its Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), a designation placed on the vehicle’s license plate. The truck driver must adhere to this limit and must follow all applicable regulations when loading the vehicle.
The GVWR is determined based on the rating of a vehicle’s:
- Power train
You shouldn’t hesitate to speak with a Virginia truck accident attorney from our team at Breit Cantor about your situation as soon as possible for answers to your questions and help moving forward.
Truck Driver Fatigue & Negligence
Truck driver fatigue is a leading cause of tractor-trailer accidents in the United States. Federal regulations do require drivers to limit their time on the road in order to preserve attention and alertness. Studies on drowsy driving by the NHTSA show that at least 7,000 people died over a 10-year period in accidents related to tired driving. Some medications can increase the risk of drowsy driving, as well as alcohol consumption.
Federal truck regulations have a “zero tolerance” policy for drug/alcohol use by truck drivers, but fatigued driving can be just as dangerous as driving under the influence. Unfortunately, with the pressure to make deadlines and to keep employers happy, many drivers drive longer than they should and forge their logbooks to conceal their real hours on the road.
Injured? We Can Help.
Our team at Breit Cantor handles truck accident cases in the Richmond and Virginia Beach areas, as well as throughout the state of Virginia. With years of experience and a winning track record, we are familiar with the various mechanical and drivers’ failures that can contribute to truck accidents. We encourage you to call a Virginia truck accident attorney from our office if you or a family member sustained an injury in a tractor-trailer collision, including accidents caused by defective brakes, overloaded trucks, and fatigued truck drivers.
Request a free consultation; contact us online or call (888) 635-9500.