Commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) are often involved in the most devastating accidents. Large trucks (CMVs weighing more than 10,000 pounds) play a major role in traffic crashes and are associated with an overwhelming 12 percent of the annual total traffic fatalities in the U.S.
As the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) further confirms, the risk of a large truck being both the cause of an accident or a deadly force caught in the mix is heightened due to their size, weight, and amount of travel. The statistics behind this assertion deserve consideration. In 2011:
- Large trucks were involved in a total of 116,350 crashes, resulting in 3,737 deaths and 64,010 injuries.
- Commercial motor vehicle accidents cost our nation approximately $48,000,000,000 annually. That’s as much as the U.S. government spent on homeland security in 2012, and more than they spent on energy or justice.
The Leading Causes of Commercial Vehicle Accidents
Excessive speed and driver fatigue rank as significant contributing factors in truck and passenger vehicle crashes, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT). While both may make sense when one considers the long hours and vast mileage these truck drivers endure, neither is an excuse for endangering other motorists’ lives. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has strict regulations in place that limit the amount of time a CMV driver can be behind the wheel, as well as designate durations of rest and off-duty time. Driving three or more hours beyond this driving-time limit can make the driver subject to maximum civil penalties, regardless if an accident occurs. If a tragedy should happen to strike and the truck driver is found at fault, they and/or their company needs to be held accountable for the injuries of innocent motorists.
Determining Fault When CMV Drivers and Companies Violate Safety Regulations
Yet, what if the cause of the accident is not clear-cut driver negligence? Such is often the case when large trucks have faulty brakes. The FMCSA reports that brake problems were coded for nearly 30 percent of trucks involved in accidents. When truck drivers undergo mandatory training and CMVs are subject to regular inspections under federal regulations and state transportation laws, how do defective brakes slip through the cracks and contribute to such a large percentage of accidents?
- A driver could fail to report brake problems to their company supervisor.
- If brake problems are appropriately reported, a company could put immediate maintenance off in order to stay on schedule and reap profits.
In these instances, who should be held liable for death or injury sustained by innocent people? Our car accident attorneys have a network of resources that can assist in the determination of fault in allowing an unsafe vehicle on the road, finding the truck driver, the company, or both, accountable. We can have investigators reconstruct the accident, while we communicate with the company’s insurance carrier regarding your claim.
We hope that no more families will have to grieve at the loss of a life cut short due to a truck accident. However, we are here for those whose lives have been damaged by a commercial vehicle accident. Contact us at (833) 690-4940 to discuss questions you have regarding your legal rights after such an incident and what compensation you deserve.