As frustrating as it may be to share the road with big trucks, you may be surprised how much you depend on them. Those behemoth vehicles transport almost 70% of the items you purchase in stores and online. While it is true that the U.S. economy would suffer without large trucks, it may also be true that fewer people would die on Nebraska highways.
Traveling alongside tractor-trailers and other large commercial vehicles is risky. It is impossible for you to know the condition of any vehicle or the state of any driver, but those and other factors in a big rig can mean the difference between you arriving safely home or ending up in the emergency room.
Why so many accidents?
While the rates of most types of fatal accidents have declined slightly in recent years, deaths due to trucking accidents are on the rise. In 2017, 4,761 people died in accidents with large trucks, which is nearly 400 more than the previous year. If you recently suffered debilitating injuries or lost a loved one in an accident involving a big rig or commercial vehicle, you should know that seeking the compensation you deserve could be a complex undertaking.
For one thing, it will be critical to narrow down the cause of the crash. This can include defective or poorly maintained truck parts or any of the following common factors:
- Driver fatigue, since many truckers object to federal rest mandates
- Impairment by drugs or alcohol
- The reckless maneuvers of a smaller vehicle, which triggered the accident
- Multi-tasking by a trucker, such as eating, drinking or smoking behind the wheel
- Distracted driving, such as using a cell phone or GPS system while operating a truck
- Racing through red lights and stop signs
- Following your vehicle too closely
A rear end collision by a tractor-trailer can be catastrophic. This can happen if a driver is not paying attention when traffic slows, such as in construction areas or approaching intersections.
What needs to change?
The trucking industry may be embracing some safety changes and rejecting others that may be too expensive. New technology means truck manufacturers can equip newer vehicles with lane departure warnings, backup cameras, collision avoidance systems and in-cab cameras, among other things. The time when every truck will have such technology is far into the future.
For now, you will have to rely on the conscientious driving of truckers and the careful maintenance of their vehicles. Since this is not always going to happen, you can always turn to a skilled attorney to seek the compensation you deserve when a negligent trucker is responsible for an accident that leaves you injured.