The Truck May Not Have Been to Blame for Your California Big Rig Accident

There is a lot of debate that continues to go on regarding the size and weight of tractor-trailers. While safety advocates definitely appear to have a good argument – increasing size and weight may lead to more accidents – there is another danger that is associated with large trucks. This hazard has more to do with the person sitting behind the wheel than the massive truck itself.

Trucker error is by far, one of the most commonly cited factors in California big rig accidents. In fact, a thorough investigation into the causes of large truck crashes, which was conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), discovered that driver error was a frequent culprit.

Researchers of this investigation, known as the Large Truck Crash Causation Study, compiled a top ten list of truck accident factors. Among these factors included ones that were directly linked to the trucker, such as:

  • Medication usage: This factor took two spots on the top 10 list – prescription drug use and over-the-counter drug use. Driving a truck takes complete concentration and awareness. Even swallowing a pill to treat common cold symptoms can impact a trucker’s ability to properly operate a tractor-trailer.
  • Traveling too fast for conditions: In Southern California, we may not have to contend with snowstorms and freezing rain, but it does get foggy and the roads do become wet on occasion. A trucker must adapt to these environmental factors. Traveling too fast for conditions can be deadly, as the truck may not be able to stop in time to avoid a hazard.
  • Drowsiness: This factor is a very controversial one, as many safety experts have strongly argued against the current hours-of-service rules (the rules that regulate how long a trucker can go without taking a break). Drowsiness has been compared to alcohol impairment when it comes to the affect it has on the driver’s cognitive abilities. A tired trucker may have a harder time responding to road hazards and may even fall asleep at the wheel.

There is a lot of evidence that typically comes into play when driver error is the suspected cause of a truck accident. Electronic event data recorders, GPS devices, on-board computers and inclinometers are sometimes used to show the ultimate cause of the accident.

If you have been hurt in a Southern California truck accident, you may be able to hold the trucker, trucking company and/or other negligent party liable. For a free case evaluation, contact an experienced Riverside truck accident attorney at Steinberg Injury Lawyers by calling (800) 989-6385 or filling out our online form.

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