Large trucks are a formidable presence on Georgia roads. Driving past one of these trucks on the interstate where vehicles travel at high rates of speed can be a terrifying experience.
Accidents involving tractor-trailers are often deadly and, in many cases, entirely out of the victim's control. Although truck driver fatigue is already well-understood as a contributing factor of fatal accidents, researchers recently pinned down another contributor -- faulty equipment.
Defective trucks put you at risk
A 2015 study found that tractor-trailers caused over 3,800 deaths that year. Of those, 69 percent of deaths were the occupants of smaller motor vehicles. Truck occupants accounted for only sixteen percent of those deaths, while another fifteen percent come from motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians.
It is likely that many of these trucks had serious defects. Researchers have already shown that trucks with defects and other vehicle violations are twice as likely to cause accidents than those without. Many of the trucks that have these defects are under short-haul exemptions. This exemption allows trucks traveling within the same state and 100 miles of their base of work to be on the road for longer than other drivers.
What are some common truck defects?
Commercial vehicle inspectors commonly issue out-of-service orders for malfunctioning or burned out lights, frayed tire sidewalls and faulty brakes. Compared with similar trucks that are free from these violations, out-of-service vehicles that continue to operate on roadways are ten times more likely to cause a crash.
Certain carriers may be more prone to ignoring defects and out-of-service orders than others. Trucking companies with high crash rates are associated with elevated risks for causing future accidents. A company with approximately 100 crashes per 1,000 trucks within a period of 24 months is 72 percent more likely to have its trucks cause more accidents.
You deserve help
In an accident, 18-wheelers are often unstoppable forces that cause serious damage. Injuries suffered in truck accidents tend to be severe, and many victims do not survive the impact. While proper care and maintenance could probably prevent a great number of truck accidents, many trucking companies prefer to focus on their bottom lines.
The physical, emotional and financial trauma associated with these types of wrecks can be overwhelming for victims and their families. Medical bills are often the heaviest burden that victims must carry, while some Georgia families take on the costs associated with unexpectedly burying a loved one. Although nothing can ever truly undo the damages caused by truck accidents, personal injury and wrongful death claims can sometimes be appropriate options for pursuing just compensation.