We have too many commercial truck crashes in the DFW area
In the past few weeks, we have seen lots of 18-wheeler collisions at night in the DFW area. For example, a tractor trailer loaded with frozen food ended up on its side after an early morning crash along Interstate 635 in North Dallas and a 18-wheeler crashed into a dump truck and scattered cargo across a highway in Fort Worth. These commercial truck crashes — and many others — happened late at night. We are thankful that no one was hurt in these two truck crashes, as they often cause severe or fatal outcomes. Here is a photo from the scene where our client was seriously injured in a tractor-trailer crash that happened at night. What causes them and what should you do if you are unfortunately involved in a collision with a tractor-trailer or other large truck?
Causes of truck crashes at night
In addition to the usual speeding, tailgating, improper lane changes, distracted driving, and improper lookout, the causes include the following:
- Medical conditions and illnesses;
- Night blindness;
- Alcohol or drugs;
- Improper weight distribution and tie-down of cargo; and
- Mechanical problems in cab or trailer
Fatigue: Federal regulations limit the number of hours a trucker can drive. Truckers can drive no more than 60 hours over seven consecutive days. They can be on-duty for up to 14 hours at a time, but only if they have just come off 10 hours off duty and only if they drive no more than 11 of those 14 hours. Even with those regulations, it is possible for a truck driver to experience exhaustion, sleepiness and fatigue, especially if that driver is driving late at night or in the predawn early morning hours.
Medical conditions and illnesses: We represented the family of a young tow truck operator several years ago who died when a tractor-trailer crashed into the vehicle he was having towed from the shoulder of the interstate north of DFW. The trucker had a history of heart problems and suffered a heart attack which caused him to lose control of his 18-wheeler. He should not have been allowed to be driving. The case settled successfully after a lawsuit was filed.
One of the biggest problems is truck drivers who suffer from sleep apnea. A report from Harvard Medical School showed that truckers who had this disorder were 242% more likely to be in a crash.
Other causes can lead to these collisions. Mechanical issues sometimes contribute to a crash, for example, a truck’s headlights not putting out enough light or the brakes not being adjusted are often to blame.
Critical evidence needed
If you are hurt in a collision with a commercial truck, you need to move fast. There are important documents and evidence that can make or break your case. They include
- Police accident reports and notes
- The trucker’s log books (now electronic)
- Witness statements
- Photographs and video of the crash scene, vehicles, injuries, and witnesses
- Black box downloads
- Driver’s file with his medical history and current fitness levels
- Truck inspection by an accident reconstruction expert
- Maintenance records showing prior problems or the lack of maintenance
This evidence can help you and your personal injury lawyer prove that a driver was driving erratically, was distracted or fatigued, that his truck was not maintained or inspected properly, or other reasons why the truck driver and his company are at fault.
Berenson Injury Law is here to help you if you have been injured in a truck accident.
Berenson Injury Law specializes in one area of the law: helping people who have been injured in crashes. We have been handling a wide range of truck accident cases for nearly four decades.
For your free case review, contact us today at 1-888-801-8585 or email us online.