Hurt Due to Truck Equipment Failure
You maintain your vehicle – keep the oil changed and tires with enough tread to keep your family safe on the road. And you’d expect large trucks would maintain their vehicles too.
The majority of operators of big-rigs are responsible drivers and trucking companies who take care of their rigs. Then there are the exceptions.
What can happen on the road when a large truck is not maintained properly?
Take for example the case of missing head lights, taillights, or safety lights. An equipment failure of proper lighting puts the motorist at an extreme disadvantage when he is trying to second guess the movements of a large truck.
Mirrors are another piece of essential safety equipment on a large truck. Drivers need to be able to see motorists and minimize blind spots. This is especially important when a motorist is trying to pass on the right. A rear view mirror that is broken, out of place, or missing is a formula for an accident.
By far, tires are one of the most important pieces of safety equipment on a big-rig. A blowout or tire tread separation makes a large vehicle weighing up to 80,000 pounds very tough to handle. The trucking company and/or driver must make sure they are buying quality tires and not retreads that have set on a shelf and experienced dry rot which can happen in our humid Florida weather.
For a driver and a trucking company, every minute counts and taking the time to report or fix and properly maintain a large truck potentially keeps the big-rig off the road. That translates to lost profit. While we’d like to think everyone behind the wheel and their boss is ethical, we know from experience that is not true.
Then there is the sheer size of the large truck itself. The battle lines have been drawn over whether trucks should stay at 53-foot length and 80,000 pounds. The trucking lobby wants to increase the maximum gross weight of trucks to 97,000 pounds, provided it has at least six axles, which would have to be authorized at the state level. The American Trucking Association says this would allow fewer trucks to be on the road delivering more freight and at the same time reducing fuel use and pollution. The industry estimates there will be 26% more trucks on the road in 2020.
We know there will be more traumatic accidents.
Safety advocates and Sen. Frank Lautenberg have introduced the Safe Highways and Infrastructure Preservation Act or S. 779 and H.R. 1618 that would keep in place the current limit of 80,000 pounds and max length of 53-feet.
Extra weight on the road, translates to extra strain on our infrastructure. The Department of Transportation reports that 158,428 of the nation’s bridges are structurally deficient. Remember the collapse of the major bridge into Minneapolis that collapsed during rush hour killing commuters by dumping them into the river?
We are hoping that the push behind the plan to increase truck size and weight does not gain steam as large trucks already account for a disproportionate share of deaths on the highways – nearly 2.4 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, which is more than 50 percent greater than the rate for standard vehicle traffic.
When there is a large truck equipment failure and the carrier did not do everything in his power to keep motorists safe, you need a Jacksonville truck accident attorney and investigator on your side to determine if there was gross negligence, a failure to follow the state and federal laws and standard safety procedures.
If so, the company should be held accountable. You can be sure that the motor carrier company will have investigators on the scene. You should too and as quickly as possible after the accident to make sure evidence is preserved.