It is not uncommon to encounter trucks on the many freeways in California, due to the size of the state and the importance of transporting goods to and from other areas of the country. Unfortunately, this means an increased risk of being involved in a truck crash. Accidents involving large commercial vehicles are usually serious, resulting in catastrophic injuries or death for the occupants of smaller vehicles.
Truck crashes are not only a problem in California, but across the country as well. In 2012, nearly 4,000 people were killed in the U.S. in crashes involving large trucks, reported the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. This number represents a 3.7 percent increase over the previous year. 254 of these fatalities occurred in California that year.
Regulations meant to save lives from common types of truck accidents
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, numerous rules surround the operation of commercial trucks to avoid the types of crashes that are common to the industry. For example, the use of hand-held mobile devices is prohibited among truck drivers, including texting while driving and talking on a cellphone that is not a hands-free device. Truck drivers' hours on the road are also limited to 11 hours a day, due to the high rates of fatal car accidents caused by fatigued truck drivers.
In addition to distracted driving and drowsy driving, there are many other factors that result in truck collisions, says State Farm. These include:
- Poor road, weather or traffic conditions
- Truck malfunction, including faulty brakes
- Improperly loaded cargo
- Alcohol or substance use
It is unknown whether fatigue, distraction or another factor caused a deadly crash between two semi-trucks in October. According to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, a truck driver on the 57 Freeway in San Dimas rear-ended another truck. The first truck's cab burst into flames and the driver was killed, while the other truck driver received minor injuries. This tragic crash is an example of how quickly a truck accident can occur and turn serious, even for other truck drivers.
Contacting an attorney
If you or a loved one was in an accident involving a large truck, the chances are high that you are now dealing with serious medical bills and other expenses. It can help to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney, who can advise you of your rights and whether you may be eligible for compensation for an accident caused by a negligent, distracted or intoxicated truck driver.