Semi-Truck And 18-Wheeler Truck Accident Causes In South Carolina
Car drivers and other motorists face a great risk when sharing the road with a large truck. Given a truck’s massive size and weight, and sometimes its dangerous cargo, any small mistake can quickly escalate into a catastrophic accident.
In South Carolina, this unfortunately happens quite often. According to the SC Department of Public Safety, in 2017 alone, a total of 59 fatal collisions in the state involved truck tractors, killing 65 people. That’s about one truck accident fatality every six days.
What causes truck accidents, and why do they occur frequently? These are the facts.
Top Causes Of Truck Wrecks
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which regulates the trucking industry in the US, conducted a major study on Large Truck Crash Causation. The study revealed that these are the major reasons for truck accidents:
- Driver’s poor decision. This includes a truck driver going too fast, following other vehicles too closely, and misjudging the speed of surrounding vehicles.
- Driver’s poor recognition. This refers to the driver’s awareness of what’s around them. Poor driver recognition may mean being inattentive or distracted.
- Driver non-performance. Truck drivers need specialized training in operating a large vehicle, but many still fail to operate safely. Common examples are falling asleep at the wheel and driving while impaired or fatigued.
- Vehicle issues. Without proper inspection and maintenance, a tractor-trailer or cargo truck can suffer from dangerous malfunctions such as brake failures and tire blowouts.
Apart from these top reasons, there are other associated factors in truck wrecks, including roadway problems, traffic flow interruption, unfamiliarity with the road, and inadequate surveillance.
With such causes present, various types of truck accidents can occur, such as:
- The height and weight distribution of large trucks make them more prone to lose their balance. Rollovers could be triggered even by the slightest change of direction or speed.
- Jack-knifing. This is when a truck’s trailer sways in a different direction from its cab, causing the vehicle to double up in a V-shape, like a folding pocket knife.
- Underride accident. When a regular car and a much-larger truck collide, the smaller vehicle could skid under the truck, crushing the car’s occupants.
- Rear-ending. Trucks take longer to stop, so it is crucial for truck drivers to keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of them. When a truck crashes into the rear of a regular car, the impact could be enough to severely injure the car occupants.
- Dangerous cargo accident. Large trucks and tankers often carry risky cargo such as chemicals, oil, construction materials, and hazardous substances. During a crash, these could spill out onto the road, especially if they were improperly loaded.
How Truck Accident Risks Increase
A variety of circumstances can increase the risk of truck wrecks. One factor often cited are the long shifts that truck drivers take, particularly when they transport goods across multiple states. With tight schedules and few rest breaks, it is not uncommon for truck drivers to get overworked and fatigued, which in turn affects their ability to operate a large vehicle efficiently.
Federal and state laws aim to minimize truck driver fatigue by regulating the hours of service in the trucking industry. However, many truckers still manage to slip through these regulations.
In addition, there are trucking companies that take dangerous shortcuts in conducting their business, such as skipping vehicle inspections and maintenance, overloading their vehicles, and failing to properly train their drivers.
Identifying the causes and factors of a crash is crucial to determining liability in a truck accident. While truck drivers are often found to be at-fault in crashes, the responsibility may also rest on truck companies, contractors, and even truck manufacturers. It takes an experienced accident attorney to effectively establish truck accident liability and help victims obtain fair compensation.
SC Truck Accident Lawyers – Contact Kassel McVey
If you or a loved one has suffered from a truck accident in South Carolina, get in touch with us at Kassel McVey. Our law firm is highly trusted in the state when it comes to holding negligent parties liable and obtaining favorable compensation for our clients. Talk to us about your truck accident by calling Kassel McVey today at (803) 256-4242.
Post Office Box 1476
Columbia, South Carolina 29202
Fax: (803) 256-1952
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