Montgomery & Bucks County Workers' Compensation Law Blog

Monday, January 2, 2017

The Perils of Tractor-Trailers

What are the leading causes of truck accidents?

If you drive on any of the major highways in Pennsylvania, sharing the road with tractor-trailers and other trucks is inevitable. Not only that, you've probably seen an accident or two involving a big-rig. These accidents are common, as a recent accident on the Pennsylvania Turnpike shows.

In December, a crash involving two tractor-trailers and a minivan closed the turnpike in both directions between the Blue Mountain and Carlisle exits for several hours. The crash occurred in the early morning hours and one of the trucks overturned. It was reported that four people were injured in the accident and were taken to an area hospital for treatment. However, the cause of the accident had not been determined.

Common Causes of Truck Accidents

There are a variety of federal and state laws that are designed to keep the public safe from truck accidents. In particular, there are limits to the amount of time truckers can driver; they are also required to take regular breaks. Sadly, faced with tight delivery deadlines, many truck drivers are forced to cover vast distances and work long hours. This invariably leads to fatigue, which is a leading reason for accidents involving big rigs.

Drivers can also become distracted by GPS devices or cell phone apps that have maps of the routes they are traveling, even though truckers are not permitted to talk or text while driving. Ultimately, a driver who is fault in an accident may be held liable.

Another leading cause of truck accidents is improper maintenance. However, federal safety laws require trucks to be properly maintained and routinely inspected. If an accident occurs because a truck's braking system failed or due to faulty tires or another mechanical defect, the trucking company can be held liable.

The Takeaway

While it is unclear what contributed to the tractor-trailer accident on the PA Tpke in December, it is possible that personal injury lawsuits may be filed. In the meantime, motor vehicle drivers should proceed with caution when passing or riding near a big rig. Being involved in a truck accident can lead to devastating injuries for occupants of smaller vehicles. Finally, if you or a loved was injured in a truck accident, you should engage the services of an experienced personal injury attorney.

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