Most Common Reasons for a Truck Accidents in Colorado
Whether you’re watching the news or on the road, some of the most horrific accidents that happen are because of a truck accident – usually because of commercial trucks. These are the seven most common reasons for a truck accident.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Colorado
Commercial trucks, such as 18-wheelers or tractor-trailers use our interstate highways regularly to transport various items. Unfortunately, these trucks also pose a significant danger to those in passenger vehicles sharing the road with them. When accidents involving commercial trucks occur, they often result in catastrophic injuries. What causes truck accidents can vary, but the most common reasons for truck accidents are discussed below.
Long-haul truck drivers drive for long distances – longer distances and longer lengths of time than we spend on the average road trip. Supply chain demands and shipment due dates demand adherence to a strict schedule, even with all of the variables presented by traffic.
Long hours on the job and in isolation may cause fatigue, loss of concentration, a decrease in coordination and more. Sometimes, in order to increase profit margins, these drivers get very little sleep. Although government entities like OSHA enforce specific rules about truck driving hours on the clock, it’s easy to fudge these numbers in order to increase profit margins. When push comes to shove, this can lead to disastrous consequences.
Drug and Alcohol Use
Alcohol has always been an issue when it comes to driving, but certain states like Colorado that have passed laws that allow legalization of marijuana are beginning to see more accidents happening because of drugs. Many truck drivers out there who have caused a truck accident have been found guilty of using drugs and/or alcohol while they are driving.
A truck accident can also be caused by prescription drugs when they’re used improperly. Prescription drug addiction is a rising problem in the United States, and even when properly used, many drugs should not be mixed with driving.
We’ve all seen some crazy things while on the road. We often treat our cars like our own little homes, freely eating, texting, entertaining ourselves, or doing our hair despite the fact that we should be concentrating on the road. Truckers can also be guilty of this problem, especially during long-haul trips when they’re in the cab for 6 hours or more at a time.
Speeding Over the Limit
While cars have their own speed limit, commercial trucks also have to follow speed limits set for commercial trucks – especially when it comes to hills, bridges, and sharp turns. Unfortunately, some truck drivers do not follow these laws.
This is one of the most common reasons for a truck accident – and the deadliest. Consider the weight: A car weighs around 45,000 lbs. A commercial 18-wheeler truck, on the other hand, weighs 80,000 lbs. This means that stopping time, turning radius, and the ability to course correct are all greatly compromised, which easily leads to severe accidents.
Truck drivers must keep their truck loads manageable to avoid accidents. In Colorado, the weight limit for tractor-trailers is 80,000 pounds for interstate highways and 85,000 pounds for non-interstate highways. Failure to adhere to these weight requirements increases the risk of accidents by creating dangerous conditions, including:
- Making it more challenging to come to a complete stop,
- Making the truck more difficult to control and steer around corners,
- Making the truck more prone to tire blowouts, and
- Increasing the risk of the truck rolling over.
Many trucking companies overload their trucks in order to increase their profitability. Unfortunately, this practice puts other drivers on the road at risk. If your accident was caused by a truck losing control due to exceeding weight limits, your attorney can help you hold the trucking company liable for their negligence.
Trucking Company Negligence
State and federal laws require trucking companies to only hire truck drivers who have completed the necessary training and obtained the required licenses. Trucking companies that fail to adhere to these requirements often put others at risk when they employ inexperienced and unqualified drivers.
Federal law requires all truck drivers to possess a commercial driver’s license to drive a commercial motor vehicle. Commercial motor vehicles are defined as a tractor-trailer or an 18-wheeler with an attached trailer weighing more than 10,000 pounds. Additional rules and regulations include the following:
- Truck companies must conduct a motor vehicle report check before hiring a driver, and they must conduct one every three years after hiring a driver;
- Truck drivers must sign a release form allowing the employer to complete a motor vehicle report check;
- If the driver refuses to sign the release form, the driver must be prohibited from operating a commercial vehicle; and
- Every truck driver must pass a medical exam.
Personal injury attorneys have extensive experience investigating truck accidents and can help you determine the cause of your accident. If a trucking company negligently hired an unqualified truck driver and that driver caused your accident, you deserve to recover compensation.
Poorly Maintained Truck
One of the major causes of semi-truck accidents in Colorado is a failure to properly maintain trucks. Trucking companies must maintain their fleet of trucks to ensure they are safe. Regular maintenance prevents the following issues:
- Failed brakes,
- Malfunctioning turn indicators,
- Bald tires,
- Defective parts, and
- Malfunctioning headlights.
All of these issues create hazardous conditions for the truck driver and for others sharing the road with them. A personal injury attorney can investigate your accident to uncover whether the trucking company’s failure to properly maintain a truck resulted in your accident.
At Sloat, Nicholson & Hoover, P.C., our attorneys have more than 100 years of combined legal experience handling personal injury cases. We take the time to get to know you and the facts of your case. Since opening our doors more than 30 years ago, we have won over $100 million in verdicts or settlements for our clients. If you’ve been involved in a truck accident and you are seeking compensation for your injuries, contact Sloat, Nicholson & Hoover, P.C. at 303-447-1144. We offer free consultations so that you can determine whether your case is worth taking to court.
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