Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Waldorf, MD
There’s no question that truck accidents can have devastating outcomes. According to the latest statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 300 people were killed in Maryland truck accidents over a recent five-year period. Many more are injured in commercial vehicle crashes every year.
Despite strict regulations aimed at preventing truck accidents, the most common causes of these collisions can be attributed to careless actions by members of the trucking industry. If you’ve been involved in a crash with a semi-truck, an experienced Maryland truck accident lawyer from Trollinger Law LLC can help pursue compensation and justice for you.
When you choose Trollinger Law, you get one-on-one service from start to finish. We believe superior legal representation comes from taking the time to get to know our clients and understanding their unique needs and goals. We know that your case is a priority for you, and it’s just as important to us.
Contact us today for a free initial case evaluation with a dedicated Maryland truck accident attorney.
What Are the Top Causes of Truck Accidents in Maryland?
Some of the most frequent causes of truck accidents in Maryland include:
- Careless or reckless driving: This may include irresponsible behaviors such as speeding, tailgating, making unsafe lane changes or turns, failing to signal, or failing to check mirrors and blind spots.
- Fatigued or drowsy driving: Truckers are limited in the number of hours they may spend on duty before resting by federal law. When drivers exceed these limitations, they run the risk of becoming overtired, which can negatively impact driving performance. Fatigue can also lead to the condition known as microsleep, where a driver falls asleep or loses consciousness for brief periods of a few seconds. A momentary gap is all it takes to cause a catastrophic truck accident.
- Lack of maintenance: Trucking companies may choose to defer required or recommended maintenance for their trucks to save money. Doing so runs the risk that truck parts will wear down and fail while the truck is in transit.
- Distracted driving: Truck drivers can be tempted by many of the same distractions as other motorists, including cell phones, the radio, billboards, passengers, and navigation devices. With so many hours spent behind the wheel, it’s easy to see how drivers might become distracted or let their minds wander. However, for every five seconds that a truck driver’s attention is off the road, their rig can travel the distance of a football field or more, potentially plowing into neighboring vehicles.
- Impaired driving: Like all drivers, it’s illegal for a trucker to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Recognizing how dangerous an accident caused by a drunk truck driver could be, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) sets 0.04 as the allowable blood alcohol concentration (BAC) for truck drivers. That’s half the legal limit set for non-commercial drivers.
- Vehicle defects: Design or manufacturing defects may cause equipment failures that cause accidents even with the most qualified truck driver behind the wheel.
- Improperly loaded cargo: Trucks have maximum limits on the amount of cargo they can haul. If a truck’s load is overweight, it destabilizes the truck and can impact the driver’s ability to control the vehicle.
- Driver inexperience: Truck drivers need specialized training. An unqualified driver could make critical driving errors that cause serious collisions.
- Poor weather and road conditions: Inclement weather and poor road conditions can impact the operation of a truck. In rain or snow, trucks will require a longer distance to slow down or come to a stop. Heavy precipitation or fog can also impact visibility, giving truck drivers less time to react to emergencies. Broken pavement and potholes can cause tire blowouts that send trucks careening out of control.
Maryland Truck Crash Facts
Data provided by the Maryland State Police recorded over 1,400 crashes involving tractor-trailer trucks in Maryland in a recent year. Hundreds of other crashes involved other types of commercial trucks, including:
- 600 accidents involving dump trucks
- 350 accidents involving flatbed trucks
- 208 accidents involving garbage trucks
- 149 accidents involving tanker trucks
When these types of accidents happen, numerous parties could be held responsible for resulting injuries. These include:
- The truck driver
- The truck company
- The truck’s owner
- Mechanics and repair shops
- Cargo loading companies
- Parts manufacturers
- Other drivers
It’s always a good idea to have a truck accident lawyer review your case if you’ve been involved in a crash. Identifying the liable party isn’t simple. You don’t want to miss out on compensation because you didn’t know who should be held accountable.
Tips for Driving Safely Near Trucks
When driving near commercial trucks on the road or highway, follow these tips to reduce the risk of an accident:
- Don’t stay in the truck driver’s blind spots. Commercial trucks have large blind spots that can extend the length of the truck, into multiple lanes, and for many feet behind the truck or trailer. If you cannot see the truck driver’s face in their mirrors, the driver cannot see you.
- Pass trucks safely. Avoid passing trucks on downgrades since trucks can quickly pick up speed and make it more difficult to pass them quickly. Don’t linger in the truck driver’s side blind spot, and make sure that you can see the truck in your rearview mirror before merging back in front of the truck, as some models of trucks have blind spots in front. Never pass a truck on the right.
- Be predictable. Don’t speed, tailgate, cut in front of trucks, or engage in other dangerous driving behaviors.
- Give extra space to turning trucks. They may require extra room to swing wide when turning on narrow streets. Never try to squeeze past a truck on the inside of its turn.
- Be patient. Trucks do not slow down or speed up as quickly as passenger vehicles. Honking or driving aggressively around trucks will only distract the driver, potentially leading to a crash.
What to Do If You’re in a Truck Accident
If you do get into an accident with a commercial truck, follow these steps to put yourself in the best position to make a claim for compensation for any injuries or losses you suffer:
- Get the contact, license/registration, employer, and insurance information from the truck driver and any other motorists involved in the accident.
- Document the accident scene. Take photos or video of vehicle damage, your injuries, and environmental evidence (e.g., skid marks, traffic controls, weather, lighting, road conditions, etc.) that are relevant to the wreck.
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible. Follow all treatment instructions you receive.
- Keep copies of all bills, invoices, and receipts of expenses you incur due to the accident.
- Start a “pain journal” to document the impact your injuries have on your ability to work and enjoy life as you used to.
- Avoid discussing the accident on social media or posting photos/videos on social media while your case is active.
- Speak with a Maryland truck accident lawyer as soon as possible. Taking action quickly is essential after a tractor-trailer crash. Your attorney can begin investigating while you recover from your injuries.
Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer in Maryland Today
Life after a truck accident can difficult, especially if you are living with long-term disabilities. Put yourself in the best financial position moving forward by seeking help from a truck accident attorney in Waldorf at Trollinger Law LLC.
Call or contact us right away for a free case review.