U.S. drivers face many hazards on the road – often from other drivers. But consistently, one of the biggest dangers we face is sharing the road with large trucks. In California and across the United States, semi-trucks dominate our highways and endanger the lives of occupants in smaller vehicles.
Statistics show that in 2017, there were 4,237 truck accidents on U.S. roads, resulting in almost 4,800 deaths. Most of these crashes are preventable, yet trends continue despite decades-long efforts to improve safety in the trucking industry.
One of the worst truck accidents in recent memory occurred last month in Colorado. Traffic was backed up on the interstate when a 23-year-old truck driver plowed into a group of slow-moving cars at 85 mph. The crash and ensuing fiery wreck killed four people and left many others injured.
The truck driver in that crash claims that he realized his brakes weren’t working just prior to the crash. He was traveling down a steep mountain descent at the time, but it is unclear what caused his brakes to fail. It could have been improper use leading to overheating, failure to maintain and repair his brakes from previous trips or something else entirely.
However, even if the brake failures were totally unpredictable (which seems unlikely), the driver apparently failed to take evasive maneuvers. In the minutes before the crash, video shows the truck driving past a runaway truck ramp that could have prevented the crash. And when the driver realized he was going to run into dozens of slow-moving vehicles, he told police that he simply accepted his fate and closed his eyes.
With advancements in technology, federal regulators have been able to improve monitoring and oversight of the trucking industry. Yet catastrophic truck accidents like this one remain sadly common due to poor driver training, failure to maintain and repair vehicles, driver fatigue/inattention and other preventable factors.
If you have been seriously injured (or a loved one has been killed) in a truck accident caused by driver or trucking company negligence, your decision to take legal action could help your own family and protect other drivers from future accidents. Please discuss your case with an experienced personal injury attorney in your area.