“Jackknifing” is a common term in the trucking industry. It’s a highly dangerous situation when a truck jackknifes, and it results in far too many crashes every year—many of them fatal.
Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) statistics show that in a recent year of study, there were over 2,000 truck crashes in which the first harmful event leading to the collision was a jackknife.
Jackknife accidents are a serious risk that drivers need to consider every time they get behind the wheel of a tractor-trailer. And because a truck jackknife is usually caused by driver error, it is considered to be among the most preventable types of truck accidents.
Exactly how often truckers drive while drowsy is a hard statistic to nail down. But the numbers we do have are alarming.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) puts the percentage of serious crashes caused by driver fatigue at about 13%, but other sources suggest the number may be as high as 40% or more.
When you’re driving in a regular sized vehicle and you’re surrounded by other vehicles that size, you’re likely a little nervous and making sure you’re paying attention but feel relatively safe sharing the road with cars the same size as yours. Comparatively, when you’re sharing the road with large trucks, you might be very nervous and constantly anticipating that something bad will happen.
Driving next to semi-trucks can be intimidating for any driver, whether you’re experienced or not. They’re so much larger than regular sized vehicles, and they weigh much more, and that can make them scary to share the road with. Tractor trailers and normal sized cars sharing the road could be so scary just because of how dangerous it is when the two collide.
Truck drivers need extra training and to be even more aware because they’re driving a large and heavy vehicle that takes more skill to maneuver. If they don’t give themselves enough time to stop, the outcome can be deadly.
Let’s take a look at how many accidents are caused by semi-trucks each year so that we can better understand the dangerous of these crashes.
Truck drivers keep our nation running—they transport goods over long distances every day so we can have the things we want and need. They have strict schedules so they can cover long distances as quickly as possible and deliver their truck-load on time. The problem with their schedules, though, is they were sometimes so strict that drivers were pulling long hours on the roads without a break.
Truck accidents can be debilitating for everybody involved. But it can also be hard to determine fault in an accident involving such a large vehicle. Sometimes pictures of the scene alone cannot tell the story of what happened to cause an accident. Black box data can be helpful to the case.
You might be familiar with black box data from airplanes that aid in piecing together what caused a crash. Eighteen-wheelers have them as well for similar reasons. In a commercial truck accident, black box data is used to figure out what happened and prove who was at fault for the collision.
When a commercial truck is in an accident, an investigation is often conducted to determine the cause. While the majority of crashes are the direct result of human error, there are some that are caused by defective automotive parts. When evidence suggests a truck could pose serious harm to others, it’s crucial for it to be recalled so accidents can be prevented.
When a commercial truck is defective and equipment fails, the truck driver could have a difficult time maintaining control of their vehicle and an accident could result. Just like with car companies, truck manufacturers are required to inform the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) of defects, so a recall can be issued.
Accidents involving trucks and passenger vehicles, or motorcycles are among the deadliest collisions we see on the road. Victims of these accidents, especially override accidents, often face lifelong injuries and permanent disabilities. If you or a loved one has been the unfortunate victim of an override truck accident in Mississippi, reach out to our Biloxi commercial truck accident lawyers to reach the settlement that’s right for you.
What is an Override Truck Accident?
An override truck accident occurs when the front end of a tractor-trailer or large truck is unable to stop and then crashes into the back of a passenger vehicle. Because of the difference in size and height, this often causes immense damage to the top of the smaller vehicle, sometimes completely tearing off the roof.
According to the National Highway Traffic Administration, 72 percent of front impact crashes with a semi result in override. A majority of override truck accidents result in head trauma, severe injuries, and death because of the amount of force exerted upon impact.
Truck drivers have demanding work schedules. Their job often has them on the road for weeks at a time, and then they get some time at home. During those weeks, truckers drive all over the country to deliver goods. They need to stick to their schedule and make sure the trucks get to their destinations on time.
But this brings its own set of problems. Driving for long periods over the course of a few weeks will make anyone tired. And when you’re driving next to a trucker, you don’t know if they’re on hour two of their first day driving or hour six of a trip where they drove eight hours the previous day. As a result, the exhaustion can lead to truck accidents.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in an accident involving a truck, a Mississippi truck accident lawyer can help you with your claim. You won’t have to worry about dealing with insurance adjusters trying to make you settle early, or gathering all the information for you claim on your own. Corban Gunn, a personal injury lawyer in Biloxi, MS, has experience in truck accident cases. He’s represented citizens of Mississippi for years and is ready to fight for your rights.
Truckers Battle Exhaustion with Strict Deadlines
The United States has about 3.5 million truck drivers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported in 2014 that 85 percent of trucks in fatal crashes were large trucks. There were 3,903 fatalities that year, and 73 percent of the people who lost their lives were in other vehicles.
With so many truck drivers on the road adhering to a schedule that could have them driving up to 14 consecutive hours, there’s no wonder that there are still thousands of truck accident fatalities per year.
Technology Can Help Keep Truckers Awake
A new invention by Ford and a Sao-Paulo based agency called GTB aims to help solve this problem. The Ford SafeCap is a trucker hat that has technology that recognizes when the driver is making motions indicating they’re about to fall asleep.
Certain head movements, like the head resting backward, and muscles relaxing, are early signs that the truck driver is going to fall asleep. They aren’t yet at that stage – and the trucker hat prevents them from getting to that stage.
After the hat picks up these motions, it responds with different sensory actions to wake the driver. There’s sound, vibration, and two bright lights shine under the cap. This effectively stop the driver from dozing off, and they also know that they’re going through the motions of falling asleep.
With this knowledge, the trucker has the hat to keep them awake, and they can look for a stop area so they can rest.
The project isn’t finished. The inventors are hoping that as people gain more awareness of the SafeCap, they will get more innovative partners to help them refine the project to make it as effective as possible.
As the world’s innovators use technology to help solve truck accident problems, there’s a good chance of reducing truck accident fatalities and making the roads safer for everyone.
Most truck drivers on the road are professional and respectful and drive with concern for the safety of all the vehicles around them. But unfortunately, not all truck drivers can be described this way, and every once in a while you may encounter a driver who is dangerous, reckless, and threatening in their behavior. As a responsible driver, there are steps you can take to report these drivers and help keep other drivers on the road safe.
How to File a Federal Report
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the national regulator for moving companies. This includes bus and truck companies, and depending on the circumstances, they may be able to process a complaint about unsafe driving.
Complaints to the FMSCA must involve violations that occurred within the last 60 days and must be about interstate or hazardous materials carriers. The FMCSA has jurisdiction over “interstate” activity, or moving vehicles that travel in more than one state. The FMSCA does not require that complaints about hazardous materials carriers involve interstate activity, nor do they require that they by submitted within 60 days.
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