Those large, 18-wheeler trucks often spotted on Indiana’s roadways haul freight across the country. While the drivers of these monstrous vehicles and trailers fulfill a mission, they also are among the “usual suspects” when an accident occurs.
However, it is not just the truck driver who may be responsible for a highway collision that injured several people, caused massive traffic delays and a great amount of clean-up and investigation. Others may take the blame as well.
Truck drivers, employers and maintenance firms
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that 5,005 people died in 2019 in crashes involving large trucks on U.S. roads. In addition, another estimated 159,000 sustained injuries. Indiana recorded 140 of those, ranking ninth just behind Tennessee (152) and Illinois (143).
Who is to blame for these, sometimes, avoidable crashes? It can be many different parties, depending on the circumstances. That list may include:
- The truck drivers: With tight deadlines to meet, drivers may suffer from fatigue, causing a collision. Drivers also may subscribe to reckless and distracted driving or just be inexperienced. In addition, some drivers may be under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine. The NHTSA noted that 2% of truck drivers involved in fatal collisions in 2019 were legally drunk.
- The trucking companies: Employers must invest in their drivers, providing them with the right training and a properly working vehicle. No short cuts as they need to hire, train and retain qualified drivers.
- The maintenance companies: Trucking companies rely on their fleets, which must be in good operating condition. A top-notch company must be retained for making repairs to prevent equipment failures such as faulty brakes and steering issues.
- Truck manufacturers: These companies must not rush their line of trucks to market without proper safety testing. Sometimes, truck makers install defective parts or rush vehicle inspections.
- The shipping and loading companies: Unbalanced loads in a truck’s trailer can cause cargo to shift, leading to a road accident. Great care and thought must be made when loading the freight, otherwise, there’s the potential for a mishap.
The mistakes and ineptitude of many players may contribute to large truck accidents. That news is not comforting if you sustain catastrophic injuries in such a crash. However, those parties held responsible for your injuries must take pay the consequences.