Truckers’ Habits Can Cause Accidents

On Behalf of | May 14, 2018 | Truck Wrecks

Texas roads see quite a few big rigs at any given moment. While the majority of truckers know how to operate their vehicles safely and efficiently, a minority will sometimes cut corners in the name of profit or convenience, and when this happens, accidents occur. Several studies have been done in the last few years that indicate that a significant percentage of accidents involving 18-wheelers and other large trucks can be attributed at least in part to truckers’ fatigue and potential mismanagement of their vehicle.

The Large Truck Crash Causation Study

In 2015, a major study was commissioned by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to analyze patterns in crashes involving large trucks. What the study discovered was illuminating: namely, that most large truck crashes involved multiple factors, and in the majority of the studied accidents, the truck was found to be primarily at fault. When probability samples for the critical reasons for large truck accidents were studied, the driver (either of the truck or of the vehicle crashing into the truck) was found to be at least partly responsible as often as 87 percent of the time.

In the study, critical reasons were divided into subsidiaries – the driver error categories run the gamut, from ‘non-performance’ (falling asleep, or being disabled due to seizure or other health-related issues), to ‘decision’ (misjudging the slipperiness of road surfaces, or following other drivers too closely). However, the fact that such a high percentage of truck accidents could be at least partially attributed to driver error is indicative of at least a trend in truckers cutting corners. It is not necessarily evidence to use if you are involved in a truck accident, but it is important to keep in mind that these crashes are more common than one might think.

Proving Negligence

If you are in an auto accident with an 18-wheeler, the most common legal theory under which you can bring a lawsuit to seek compensation for injuries is that of negligence. In order to prove your case in negligence, you must be able to prove three points. You must be able to show that the duty of care owed between motorists on the same road was breached, and you must also be able to show that the breach was directly because of the defendant’s conduct. You must also show that you actually suffered tangible harm as a result of that breach of duty.

It is also important to keep in mind that in many situations, you may be able to bring suit against not only the truck driver, but also the trucking company. Because a trucker is almost always operating an 18-wheeler within the scope of his or her employment, this means that the theory of respondeat superior, also called vicarious liability, which holds that an employer is liable for intentional torts committed by their employees. This means that if you can show that a trucker acted negligently in operating their vehicle, and it caused your injuries, you may be able to hold the trucking company liable for your injuries as well.

Contact an Experienced Attorney

Truck drivers are human, and as such, will sometimes make mistakes. However, they should not be immune to the consequences of their mistakes if they cause harm to others. The zealous New Braunfels trucking accident attorneys at the Bettersworth Law Firm are always happy to try and answer questions you might have about truck accidents and your options. Contact our office today to set up a consultation.