Unlike other motor vehicle collisions, truck accidents are far more convoluted affairs. A February 12 American Trucking Association report indicates that motorists, as opposed to tractor trailer drivers, are more likely to cause accidents.
According to the Los Angeles Times, the American Trucking Association’s report references four separate studies pertaining to accidents. One from the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, in examining 8,300 fatal accidents, shows that 81 percent of drivers are to blame. Common issues include driving too close or head on into the truck, an opposite or same direction swipe, going faster than conditions call for, not following the rules of the road, and not being in the correct lane.
Although the report offers some insight into these complex cases, it does not touch on two crucial aspects: one, that truck and tractor trailer accidents cause far more damage and harm than ordinary traffic collisions, and two, those involved must gather more information.
Truck drivers are required to follow federal laws and regulations, and in some cases, these standards, such as Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations, federal and state DOT, and FMCSA, assist with determining who is at fault. Aside from the driver, the owner of the vehicle, the company, manufacturer, or shipping and loading company may be involved.
Along with drivers following the rules of the road, vehicle conditions, weather, roads, and traffic signals are considered. 90 percent of the time, however, a driver is responsible. Behind that, equipment failure, including improper or insufficient maintenance, is another factor leading to an accident.
Although standard reporting applies when such an incident happens, a victim – possibly along with a truck accident lawyer – may need to go after information not included in a police report, such as from a government agency, the vehicle’s tracking device or “black box,” and inspection. A “black box” records a truck’s speed and acceleration, breaks usage, and how long a driver has been on the road.