The Threats Posed by Large Trucks
Even if a truck driver is awake, sober, and alert and paying full attention to driving their large truck, these huge vehicles can be a threat to a passenger vehicle on any of the roads and highways in which they share. On average there is roughly around 250 fatalities per year that involve large, commercial trucks and passenger vehicles that were caused by reckless driving. There are state and federal regulations which impose certain duties that truck drivers are supposed to follow. These standards are supposed to establish a standard of care to others on the road. However, truck drivers often do not live up to these regulations and standards. When a truck crashes due to reckless driving, the truck driver is overwhelmingly unharmed in the accident. Research has found that less than 20 percent of injuries or fatalities, that relate to truck accidents caused from reckless driving, are the truck driver.
If a truck driver is driving his vehicle in a reckless way with no regard to the safety of the cars around them, the chance of having a serious accident greatly increases. A large 18-wheeled truck can be nerve-wracking to drive next to all on its own, however, when a truck driver uses their truck to antagonize drivers on the road, it goes from being a traffic violation to a criminal offense.
What does reckless truck driving look like?
Reckless driving is fundamentally different than careless driving or negligent driving. Unfortunately, the outcomes of these poor driving events are usually similar. A careless driver, or negligent driver, is one who does not pay enough attention to other vehicles or to the road. A reckless driver is one who intentionally does not follow the rules of the road and acts aggressive. A driver’s actions are considered aggressive when there is a combination of traffic violations that can cause harm to those around them. Examples of this include:
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Tailgating other vehicles
- Passing other trucks or cars aggressively
- Cutting off other cars or trucks while weaving in and out of cars in traffic aggressively
- Starting their trip without inspecting the truck, cargo, or emergency equipment
- Failing to secure a load that could become loose
- Talking or texting on a cell phone while operating a large truck
- Driving while tired
- Driving beyond the time limits that are set by federal and state rules
- Driving under the influence
- Backing up without checking for other vehicles
- Stopping suddenly on the shoulder of the road without warning
- Making sharp turns without leaving enough space
The US Department of Transportation and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration have created a program called Ticketing Aggressive Cars and Trucks, TACT. The goal of TACT is to lessen the amount of unsafe driving behaviors by both passenger vehicles and commercial truck drivers. It was also created to reduce how many large truck accidents occur and to lessen the amount of injuries and fatalities that occur on the roadways. If you feel you or other cars are in immediate danger because of a truck accident due to a truck driver’s reckless driving, you should always call 911 to report it. If, however, you are in a big truck accident and it is the truck driver’s fault, you should call a competent and experienced truck accident attorney Dekalb County GA or locals right away to make sure that you are fairly treated.
Thank you to Andrew R. Lynch, P.C Attorney at Law for providing their insight on car accident injuries and authoring this piece.