Truck accidents remain a major hazard on roads in Tennessee and throughout the United States. And when truck accidents occur, the occupants of smaller passenger vehicles are much more likely to be injured or killed than the driver of the truck. This is simply due to the huge size differential – trucks often weigh 20 to 30 times more than the other vehicles they interact with, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
In today’s post, we’ll discuss just one aspect of truck driver/company negligence that leads to devastating crashes: Vehicle maintenance and cargo issues.
Trucking companies and drivers are required to perform regular inspections and repairs on their vehicles, especially on critical safety elements that wear out over time. Unfortunately, worn brakes are frequently neglected or ignored, and the results can be deadly.
Even when brakes are in good working order and the truck is traveling on dry pavement, the braking distance required for loaded trucks to come to a stop is 20 to 40 percent longer than for smaller cars. If driving conditions are less than ideal and especially if brakes are in disrepair, the truck may not be able to stop in time, if at all.
Unbalanced and unsecured loads
A truck pulling a fully loaded trailer feels much different than one with an empty trailer. Just as important as weight, however, is weight distribution. If cargo is distributed to one side of the trailer or situated too high inside the trailer, the truck is much more prone to rollover crashes on sharp turns.
Similarly, unsecured loads are both a hazard in their own right and a distraction to the driver. Even if loose cargo doesn’t fall out/off of the truck, it can shift quickly and dangerously, leading to a crash.
Discarded truck parts and debris
We’ve all seen the wreckage that has become part of the highway landscape: Bumpers, shredded tires, chains and other debris that has fallen off of a vehicle in motion. In many cases, this highway garbage comes from large trucks, which can shed parts without attracting the truck driver’s attention. These items pose the greatest danger in the moments right after they have fallen off the truck. They may strike another vehicle or fall directly in the path of a motorcyclist who has no time to get out of the way.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in truck accident, vehicle maintenance or cargo issues may have been a factor. Please discuss your legal options with an experienced personal injury attorney in your area.