Our nation’s highways and roads are becoming more crowded while we are facing an infrastructure crisis. Even with this situation, the trucking industry has put out a call for more hires as it faces a massive driver shortage.
This driver crunch is causing more trucking companies and their operators to deliver the same amount of goods, or more, with fewer resources than ever. When drivers are trying to meet a deadline or are worried about their own bottom lines, they are more likely to speed.
Speeding trucks have become a deadly fact of life on U.S. roads. In 2015 alone, 4,311 large trucks were involved in fatal crashes in the U.S. Rules to regulate this industry have recently either been rolled back or put on hold to help trucking companies with deep pockets. This lack of oversight is only likely to cause more injury and loss of life due to speeding truck accidents.
What Constitutes Speeding?
For many individuals, the answer to this question is black and white. Speeding means that you are driving over the posted speed limit, right? This is true in most cases, but not all. In many U.S. states, trucks have a different (lower) speed limit than passenger vehicles, and it is the responsibility of the truck driver to know this information.
Trucks also have a duty to drive according to the safest speed for conditions. What does this mean? Suppose the speed limit for a truck is 55 mph on a certain Alabama road. However, a tropical storm just came in off the Gulf of Mexico, bringing torrential rain and some heavy winds. Under these circumstances, it might be safe to drive just 40 mph or even slower.
Why Are Speeding Trucks Such a Problem?
There are few things as dangerous as an 18-wheeler or tractor-trailer that is driving too fast or even out of control. The NHTSA reports that one-third of fatal accidents were either caused by speed or had excessive speed as a contributing factor.
For drivers that speed, this is a habitual problem. One recent study found that the top reasons drivers give for speeding include:
- Being in a hurry to get to a destination
- Don’t see speeding as a dangerous practice
- Not paying attention to conditions
- Not taking traffic laws seriously
- Not believing they will get caught
The way that truck drivers are compensated has a lot to do with this pervasive problem. Instead of being paid by the hour, truck drivers are paid by the mile. So, instead of using caution and care to protect the lives of others on the road, they speed from one destination to the next so that they can make as much money as possible. There may also be factors beyond their control, such as traffic jams or slow loading times, that put them even further behind schedule. These excessive speeds can lead to dangerous and deadly truck accidents that will have a severe impact on victims and their families.
The Dangers That Speeding Trucks Pose
Trucks are larger and heavier than passenger vehicles, so they cause more damage. They also have less visibility and take longer to stop than a car. Even worse, the size of an 18-wheeler means that a crash often involves multiple vehicles and is not of the fender-bender variety.
These trucks can be involved in a variety of accidents that either result from speed or will be worse when speed is a factor. Trucks can’t navigate turns as well when they are speeding and will take longer to react when traffic ahead shifts or stops. Heavy or uneven loads can shift as well at high rates of speed. The resulting accidents involving trucks can be jackknifes, rollovers, and other dangerous crashes that result in injury or even death.
Damages from Speeding Accident Crashes
Because of their bulk and weight, many of these accidents result in the loss of life. If no one is killed, there will likely be severe injuries that might include traumatic brain injury, spinal injuries, broken bones, internal injuries, and burns.
Truck accident victims have the right to collect compensation for their losses if another party was at fault in the accident. Damages might include medical care, lost wages and earning capacity, pain and suffering, and wrongful death.
Speak with a Qualified Alabama Truck Accident Attorney
If you or someone you love has been involved in a speeding truck crash, the experienced Alabama truck accident attorneys at Burge & Burge, PC, can help protect your rights. We will thoroughly investigate your case, outline your legal options, and pursue the wrongful parties for the full and fair compensation you need and deserve. Contact our Birmingham office now at 205-545-8291 or reach us online to schedule a free consultation.