Tractor-trailer trucks make up just 3 percent of the vehicles on the road, but they are involved in 21 percent of fatal accidents.
A study conducted in the state of Washington that looked at the effects of truck equipment conditions, truck operating characteristics and driver characteristics as they related to crash involvement summarized the following findings:
- 77 percent of tractor-trailers in crashes and 66 percent of those not involved in crashes had defective equipment warranting a citation.
- 41 percent of tractor-trailers in crashes had defective equipment warranting taking the truck out of service, and 31 percent not involved in the crashes had these defects as well.
- Brake defects were the most common defective equipment issue and was found in 56 percent of tractor-trailers in crashes. The risk of being involved in a crash was 1.5 times greater for a truck with brake defects than for a truck with no brake defects.
Companies within the trucking industry must follow Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. These regulations specify that trucks must be kept in proper repair and follow specific maintenance schedules and inspections. If these regulations are not followed, innocent motorists and pedestrians can be seriously injured or killed.
At the experienced tractor trailer accident law firm of Montlick and Associates, our attorneys have extensive knowledge regarding these regulations and Georgia state guidelines as well which forms a basis for our successful track record of representing victims of trucking accidents.
Defective tires and brake failures are the two biggest mechanical failures that result in trucking accidents. The United States Department of Transportation (DOT) estimates that 29.4 percent of all trucking accidents involve failure of the commercial truck brakes.
Other causes of truck accidents can involve:
- Driver fatigue
- Overloaded trucks
- Improper truck maintenance
- Defective equipment – Tires, wheels, brakes, ABS, Safety straps, trailer hitches
- Failure to properly secure loads
- Driver negligence
The average tractor-trailer outweighs a typical passenger vehicle by about 25 times. When the two meet in an accident, this weight differential can completely decimate the passenger vehicle and severely injure or kill the passengers inside.
There are many parties that can be held responsible in a trucking accident lawsuit. The manufacturers of faulty or defective parts can be liable for negligence or even on a strict liability basis (meaning fault regardless of negligence). If the brakes on a truck fail, it could mean that the brakes are defective or that the trucking company did not get the brakes adjusted on a regular basis or perform maintenance per other federal regulations.
If a trucking company does not perform frequent, routine inspections on their trucks or perform proper maintenance, then the trucking company can be held liable for negligence. If the trucking company does not properly train its truck drivers or if they pushed them to work beyond allowed hours, then they can be held responsible.
The truck driver can also be found negligent if he neglected to perform a pre-trip inspection on his truck before leaving his depot. Driving while intoxicated and speeding are also factors that contribute to many commercial trucking accidents.
The complicated nature of a trucking accident lawsuit and the powerful agents that the trucking companies employ to protect them are just some of the reasons why anyone involved in a serious Georgia tractor-trailer accident should seek immediate legal advice. It takes a team of experts experienced at investigation and preservation of trucking accident evidence to obtain the best possible result in your trucking accident lawsuit in Georgia.
Truck drivers who are operating commercial trucks may be subject to Federal and Georgia state regulations governing commercial trucks. These regulations may prescribe hours of service rules, vehicle maintenance requirements, driver training standards and limitations on the use of alcohol or drugs, just to name a few. The failure of a truck driver to comply with these regulations may be the basis for imposing liability for serious injuries or wrongful death resulting from a Georgia truck accident. If you or someone you love has been injured in a serious Georgia truck accident, you may be entitled to legal compensation. This compensation may include medical and rehabilitative expenses, loss of earning capacity, pain and suffering, disfigurement, disability, property damage and other damages.