Truck Accidents | Allen, Flatt, Ballidis & Leslie Blog
Commercial vehicle drivers are responsible for safely transporting thousands of pounds of sometimes-hazardous cargo throughout the country, including the heavily trafficked roads of California. These drivers must be experienced, focused, and reliable – otherwise, a single mistake could cause a serious collision and injure multiple people.
Since many big rigs travel hundreds of miles in a single trip while towing thousands upon thousands of pounds of goods, it is no wonder that these vehicles need constant maintenance and repairs. While a truck’s tires, brakes, and engines are often the top priority, one other key part that should be inspected is the truck’s hitch. This unique part allows a truck to safely pull a fully-loaded trailer across the country, but when a hitch is damaged or faulty, it can also be the cause of serious accidents.
Almost every industry in California, from rideshare drivers to freelance journalists to music festivals, is feeling the effect of AB5. Formally known as California Assembly Bill 5, AB5 officially went into effect on January 1st, 2020, and requires businesses to extend employee status to workers who do not meet the ABC test that would otherwise classify them as independent contractors. While this law has been marketed as a “gig worker bill”, it also may have a major impact on another group of workers: truckers.
When a large, commercial truck is overloaded, it puts the lives of others on the roadway at risk. If you see an overloaded big rig on the road, the best thing to do is get out of its way. Fortunately, there are certain visible signs to clue you in when a truck is overloaded.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, an average of 10 people are killed in tractor-trailer accidents each day in America. And over 80% of those killed are not occupants of the semi-truck—they’re pedestrians, bicyclists, and other drivers.
When a semi-truck crashes in Orange County—alright, in the entire United States—determining liability can be complicated because many, many parties may be involved. And each of them has its own insurance company, more likely than not. And trucking insurance companies are notoriously difficult to work with. They hate giving out money, even to accident victims who desperately need it. So be warned!
The unique physical characteristics of an 18-wheeler render certain driving maneuvers that would be considered routine in a passenger car as almost too dangerous to attempt in most situations. Large commercial trucks can have a gross vehicle weight of up to 80,000 pounds when fully loaded and operating on the interstate highway system. Their length can reach 65 or 75 feet depending on the trailer connection. Given the massive weight and length of these vehicles, U-turns typically cannot be executed without creating a high risk of a collision.
The rollover accident is by far the deadliest risk facing SUV, minivan and truck drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) more than 280,000 rollover accidents are reported each year and sadly, over 10,000 fatalities. These types of accidents are usually twofold; first the rollover occurs and then the roof crushes in and seriously injuries the occupants causing major head trauma. Rollover crashes result in 36% more passenger injuries than non-rollover accidents and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has researched that if SUV’s were just one inch lower, deaths would by decreases by one half.
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