18-Wheeler Accident Lawyer Laredo
We share the road with 18-wheelers. These vehicles are massive – when they’re fully loaded, they can top out at 80,000 pounds – and when they’re involved in accidents, those accidents are among the most deadly and terrifying on our roadways. Big rigs dwarf the other vehicles on the road, and this size differential, alone, can make a truck accident deadly. An 18-wheeler accident can have dire physical, emotional, and financial effects that overwhelm your life in unpredictable ways. When you get behind the wheel, remember that you share the road with semi-trucks – so make driving safely your top priority.
Trucking RegulationsBecause of the significant dangers inherent to the industry, both the federal government and the State of Texas implement strict regulations on both truckers and the entire trucking industry. Such regulations address several fundamental safety factors:
- Licensing standards for commercial drivers;
- Standards related to commercial drivers’ usage of alcohol and controlled substances (along with testing standards);
- Safety and health standards for truckers and safety standards for trucking companies; and
- Standards related to the transportation of hazardous materials.
Big Rig Accidents and StatisticsSemi-trucks swarm our highways for a reason – to fulfill ever-growing consumer demands. As more and more 18-wheelers hit the road to help keep pace with this demand, accident statistics reflect the effect this uptick in commercial trucks has on truck accident fatalities:
- In 2015, nearly 4,000 people died in semi accidents nationwide;
- In 2015, the drivers and passengers who were in the other vehicles – not in the 18-wheelers – accounted for 97 percent of truck accident fatalities;
- From 2009 to 2015, the number of truck accident fatalities rose 22 percent; and
- An 18-wheeler was involved in 11 percent of all 2015 traffic fatalities.
Trucking: Keeping It SafeExperienced, healthy, well-rested, well-trained, and engaged truckers are the most important mechanism for helping to make the trucking industry safer. After ensuring that truckers are up to the immense task of maneuvering big rigs across the country’s highways and byways, it’s necessary to make sure that the trucks themselves are well-maintained and in safe-operating condition – through the implementation of regularly scheduled and rigorous checking systems as mandated by the law. Further, it’s crucial that trucking companies are managed according to state and federal regulations and that they prioritize safety at every level. These three factors are critical to helping minimize truck accidents and are worth exploring more closely:
- The Truck Driver
- The 18-Wheeler
BrakesWell-working brakes are obviously critical to the safety of any motor vehicle. The brakes on big rigs are exceedingly complicated systems that demand a strictly calibrated maintenance routine.
TiresTires are the point where the rubber meets the road – as they say – and as such are elemental to safety. A defective tire can render a semi very difficult to control, which is a significant safety hazard. Tires must be carefully and constantly monitored.
Coupling DevicesCoupling devices connect trailers to their cabs, and any defect in these critical mechanisms can be deadly. Regular and thorough inspections are required.
- The Trucking Company
- The semis’ manufacturer;
- The semis’ mechanics; and
- The semis’ manufacturer of parts.
Inherent DangersSemis have some inherent safety issues that can contribute to trucking accidents:
- Center-of-Gravity Issues
- The Issue of Significant Blind Spots