Accidents involving semi-trucks are extremely dangerous. These large and heavy vehicles can cause serious damage to smaller motor vehicles, resulting in debilitating injuries, extensive property damage, and possible fatalities. Truck drivers and trucking companies must adhere to strict safety regulations to avoid these collisions.
If you are a Colorado driver who suffers injuries in an accident with a commercial truck, you may be eligible for legal action. Many negligent acts that contribute to truck accidents each year, from improper cargo loading to dangerous, reckless behavior, such as drinking and driving.
#1: Distracted Driving
To stay safe on the road, we need to keep our eyes, mind, and hands on the act of driving. Any distraction can lead to a serious car accident, and if the driver of a multi-ton semi-truck isn’t paying attention to the road, the results can be catastrophic.
Truck drivers can engage in multiple forms of distracted driving, including the following.
- Eating or drinking while driving
- Operating a device in the truck, such as a GPS or radio
- Texting or talking on the phone while driving
- Watching television while driving
- Reaching for items within the vehicle
- Speaking to a passenger or dispatcher
#2: Drowsy Driving
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) imposes strict limits on the number of hours a truck driver can operate without taking a break. These regulations ensure drivers receive adequate rest while on the road, avoiding drowsy driving. Unfortunately, some truck drivers ignore these rules and drive more hours than allowed.
When a truck driver is tired, he or she may fall asleep at the wheel and lose control of the vehicle, causing a serious collision. The driver may unintentionally drift into other lanes without noticing, colliding with oncoming vehicles. Fatigue also impacts reaction time, motor skills, and judgement, and the driver may be unable to respond to unexpected hazards on the road. All of these factors can contribute to an accident.
#3: Driving Under the Influence
Because alcohol and drugs can impact motor skills, judgement, and concentration, driving under the influence is extremely dangerous. However, certain drivers continue to use these substances while operating heavy-duty vehicles, resulting in serious damage. Some truck drivers rely on illicit drugs, such as amphetamines, to stay awake for long hours on the road.
Data from the FMCSA shows that positive drug tests among commercial drivers increased by 8% in September 2020 and that positive tests account for 82% of violations reported to the agency. These trends are concerning, and may pose a risk to motorists on Colorado roads.
#4: Improperly Loaded Cargo
The FMCSA has several rules regarding how to load cargo, the amount of cargo a truck can carry at a time, and special considerations for dangerous materials. If a truck driver fails to adhere to these rules, cargo can become loose during transport, potentially falling out of the vehicle and harming others on the road. Carrying too much cargo at a time can also cause a driver to lose control of his or her vehicle, causing an accident.
What to Do After a Truck Accident
Any accident involving a heavy-duty vehicle can be devastating. If you suffer injuries due to a negligent truck driver, you should contact law enforcement and seek medical attention immediately. After receiving treatment, contact a truck accident attorney in Denver to discuss your claim.
Identifying the cause of your collision is the first step toward compensation, and your lawyer will have the authority to carry out this investigation. Your attorney can request evidence from the trucking company, depose witnesses, and protect your right to recovery in the courtroom and at the negotiating table.