The commercial trucking industry plays a vital role in transporting goods across the country. However, the prevalence of traffic accidents involving trucks poses significant threats to public safety. Negligent and irresponsible truck drivers can cause serious and even deadly collisions. In Colorado, the impact of such accidents is particularly alarming. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) report in 2017, there were 4,237 fatal crashes and 344,000 injury crashes involving large trucks in the United States. In this article, we will delve into some of the most common types of trucking accidents and explore measures to prevent them.
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1. Jackknife Accidents: A Deadly Risk
A jackknife accident is one of the most perilous situations a truck driver can face. This type of accident occurs when the truck folds in on itself at an angle, making it impossible for the driver to steer or stop the vehicle safely. When the trailer swings away from the cab, the truck may roll over, flip, or collide with other vehicles, resulting in a pile-up accident.
Jackknife accidents often happen due to incorrect braking techniques, especially when descending steep slopes. Trucking companies have a responsibility to train their drivers to apply proper braking methods in dangerous situations to prevent jackknife accidents. Additionally, maintaining brakes adequately is crucial to avoiding brake failure, which can contribute to jackknife collisions.
2. Lost Load Accidents: Hazards on the Road
A lost load accident refers to the cargo in a truck’s trailer breaking free of its securement and falling onto the road during transport. This situation poses severe risks to other motorists, as loose cargo can bounce and strike vehicles behind the truck, leading to fatal injuries or causing tire blowouts and related accidents.
To prevent lost load accidents, trucking companies and their cargo loaders must strictly adhere to the FMCSA’s cargo securement rules. These regulations specify different bed types for various cargo, securement of hazardous materials, use of special straps, and weight distribution requirements. Failing to follow these requirements increases the likelihood of a lost load accident.
3. Wide Turn Accidents: Exercise Caution
Due to their large size, big rigs require more space to execute turns compared to standard passenger vehicles. A wide turn accident occurs when a truck crashes into a nearby vehicle with its cab or bed while making a turn. To avoid such accidents, all motorists should maintain a safe distance from turning 18-wheelers. Truck drivers should be vigilant, assess their surroundings for safety, and signal their intent to turn before completing the maneuver.
4. Underride Accidents: A Grave Danger
Underride accidents often result in fatalities for occupants of passenger vehicles. These accidents happen when a passenger vehicle collides with the back or side of a commercial truck, potentially becoming trapped beneath the trailer. Underride truck accidents can cause devastating injuries, including head and brain trauma, decapitation, broken bones, and catastrophic spinal cord injuries. Such accidents occur when trucking companies fail to adhere to federal rear impact guard requirements or neglect to maintain reflective tape, which impairs the trailer’s visibility.
5. Override Accidents: Rear-End Risks
Override accidents occur when a commercial truck collides with the rear of a smaller vehicle. In these accidents, the force of impact may propel the smaller car forward, causing additional collisions. Alternatively, the truck may roll over the smaller vehicle, resulting in a crush accident that can cause severe injuries or fatalities. Truck drivers can prevent override accidents by maintaining a safe following distance, adhering to speed limits, staying focused on the road, and correctly applying the brakes.
Legal Recourse for Trucking Accidents in Colorado
Following any type of trucking accident in Colorado, victims have the right to seek compensation by filing injury claims against the trucking company. Truck companies are legally responsible for accidents caused by their negligent or reckless drivers, as well as those stemming from inadequate truck maintenance. Pursuing legal action against the company can potentially result in financial compensation for both economic and non-economic damages. To explore your options for legal recourse after a collision, it is advisable to consult with an experienced Denver trucking accident lawyer. Contact our Denver law firm today to speak with a truck accident lawyer about your case.
Preventing catastrophic trucking accidents requires a multi-faceted approach that involves adequate driver training, proper maintenance, and strict adherence to safety regulations. By understanding the risks associated with jackknife accidents, lost load incidents, wide turn mishaps, underride collisions, and override accidents, we can work towards minimizing the occurrence of such accidents and ensuring safer roadways for everyone.