When you travel on the interstate, or even just a highway, you won't go without seeing a large commercial truck. These trucks are large in size and weight, significantly more so than a standard automobile. In fact, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), these big rigs generally weigh approximately 20 to 30 times as much as regular automobiles. The IIHS reported that nearly 4,000 people lost their lives in commercial trucking accidents, with 66 percent of those individual being individuals of passenger vehicles, in 2016. In the event that you find yourself a victim of a truck accident, it is important that you understand the differences between a regular auto accident and a commercial truck accident.
Difference #1: Truck Drivers Are Held to Higher Standards.
Commercial truck drivers drive big rigs as their way of living; therefore, they are held to a certain standard. Drivers of commercial trucks are required and expected to exercise extreme caution – more so than that of a regular driver. For instance, in some states, regular drivers cannot get behind the wheel if they have a BAC of .08 or more, but truck drivers cannot do so if their BAC is .04 or more. Truckers must also ensure that their vehicles are up to certain safety protocols, and that they do not partake in any illegal activities, such as drug use.
Difference #2: The Accident Is Often a Result of Driver Error.
With most vehicle accidents, there can be many factors that can contribute to an accident. The same can be said of a trucking accident. However, the most common cause of a commercial truck accident is driver error. Now, driver error can be a number of things, from inattention or speeding to drinking alcohol or taking prescription medications.
However, more often than not, the most common culprits of driver error for trucks are sleep deprivation and fatigue. This is because the more miles that trucks can drive, the more money that they can make. Of course, there are certain rules that regulate the number of hours that truckers can work every day/week and there are mandatory rest periods included. Drivers are expected to maintain service logs, which can be used in a personal injury suit.
Difference #3: Truck Accidents Result in More Serious Injuries.
Despite the fact that commercial trucks are involved in only a small percentage of the total number of vehicle accidents that occur across the country each year, they often result in far more serious – and sometimes even fatal – injuries. This is, of course, because commercial trucks are so much larger in size and heavier in weight than passenger vehicles.
Keep in mind that if you have recently been involved in an accident with a commercial truck it is crucial that you reach out to a personal injury attorney immediately. An attorney can help ensure that your individual rights and interests are protected and that you're fully compensated for the injuries that you sustained in the accident.