A crash between two cars can result in disaster, but the same type of crash between a passenger vehicle and a large commercial truck like a semi truck, big rig, or 18-wheeler tractor trailer almost always results in major disaster. The math simply doesn’t lie. Large commercial trucks carry so much weight and force behind them that any accident involving a big rig has the potential to cause major injuries and even fatalities.
According to nationwide data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there were over 88,000 crashes involving large trucks in 2014. During that same year, 3,744 crashes resulted in fatalities. In a 2015 New York Times article, it was revealed that large trucks cause a disproportionate amount of fatal accidents. Roughly one-fourth of 2015’s fatal traffic crashes involved a commercial truck. This is compared to a mere 10% of overall non-fatal accidents.
To Prevent Truck Accidents, We Must Understand Them
Commercial trucks are an integral part of our nation’s economy. Especially in Wisconsin, big rig trucks are used to transport crucial foods, products, and goods between and across state and county lines. Without the U.S. trucking industry, we wouldn’t be able to get the goods and services we depend on.
There’s one other fact we need to be aware of, and that’s the fact that the United States trucking industry—as vital as it is—could be doing more to keep serious trucking accidents from occurring. Major U.S. trucking corporations tend to lag behind in regards to taking advantage of newly developed safety technology, and unfortunately, our government isn’t doing much to enforce a change in policy.
Collision avoidance technology and A.I.-guided motion sensors are commonly installed in most new cars and even trucks. Automakers now offer automatic sensor devices, electronic stability controls, airbags, and anti-lock brakes on all trucks—even large tractor trailers. Automobile technology has come an incredibly long way within the last five years. With more safety tools and devices at their disposal, truck drivers would have an easier time avoiding accidents.
So why don’t truck drivers have access to these safety tools and devices? Trucking agencies are hesitant to upgrade their commercial trucks for one reason—the cost factor. In other countries such as Europe, trucking corporations are required by law to outfit their trucks with certain safety devices regardless of how much those upgrades cost. The U.S. doesn’t have similar federal guidelines in place.
Examining Other Causes for Wisconsin Truck Accidents
In addition to a lack of federal guidelines that govern safety technology, there are many other causes for trucking accidents in Wisconsin. These are among the most common:
- Inadequate truck driver training
- Unrealistic truck driver schedules and systems of compensation that encourage drivers to travel at unsafe speeds and/or drive for longer hours than is safe
- A lack of driver/truck tracking technology which would enforce safer driving hours and speeds
- Passenger vehicle drivers who fail to keep enough distance between a commercial truck and their vehicle
- Faulty or defective equipment
- Passenger vehicle drivers who remain in a large truck’s blind spots or between two large trucks
- Unsafe passing, particularly during rough weather conditions or wind
- Tractor trailer “rollover” accidents which are often caused by windy highways and cargo loads that are heavier than they should be
Not all commercial truck accidents are caused directly by the driver. Oftentimes, determining who’s at fault for a major truck accident can be difficult. Was the driver at fault or was the trucking corporation possibly at fault? Questions like this cannot be answered without the help of a legal expert.
Getting Help from a Truck Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a devastating truck accident, you may feel like there’s nowhere to turn. Trucking corporation insurance agencies can be very forceful when attempting to get you to sign off on an insurance claim, but under no condition should you sign off if you’re not ready to or feel the settlement amount is too low. You deserve to get the financial compensation you require to recover from your injuries.
A skilled and knowledgeable personal injury lawyer can help you determine who was really at fault for the accident and get you the compensation your family needs. Additionally, if the truck driver or trucking corporation was at fault for the accident, filing a lawsuit sends these agencies an important message. That message reads loud and clear: The trucking industry needs to do more to stop accidents from happening.
At Urban & Taylor, S.C., you can get the help of a Milwaukee, WI truck accident lawyer who will do everything they can to fight for your rights and send the above message to the guilty party. Our firm has experience going up against major corporations and can let your voice be heard. Contact our Milwaukee office to learn more or receive a free case consultation.