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Trucking accidents can be some of the most devastating types of accidents. There were 7,999 truck collisions in 2020 in Kentucky. Trucking accidents can happen for various reasons, whether it’s driver fatigue, unsafe operation, interruptions in traffic, improper loading, or vehicle issues. Large-truck drivers are allowed to drive a maximum of 11 hours before they are required to take a 10 hour break. After 70 hours within an 8 day period, drivers are required to take a 34 hour rest period before being allowed to drive again. Unfortunately, deadlines can often tempt drivers to continue past the allotted time to drive, leading to fatigue and unsafe operation of the vehicle.

Deadlines can also coax drivers to rush loading or to overload their trailer. Improper loading or overloaded trucks can be unpredictable and unstable on the road. When overloading happens, the trucks are significantly slower to stop, have less control, and could potentially lead to roll-over crashes. Speeding and overloading are the leading factor in semi-truck roll-over accidents, due to the front wheels traveling and turning faster than the cargo. Overloaded trucks pose a serious danger to passenger cars and other tractor trailers.

Vehicle issues or lack of maintenance are two of the leading causes of large truck accidents. Due to profit margins, some trucking companies or drivers try to cut costs by not properly maintaining their trucks, leading to brake problems, over-worn tires, and cargo shifting. Brake failure is involved in approximately 29% of large truck accidents, due to loss of vehicle control. Over-worn tires also are a factor in many trucking accidents, as they can cause blowouts or sliding.

Interruption in the flow of traffic is the leading cause for truck vs car accidents, according to the FMCSA. The stopping time for a large truck can be more than double than that of a car, therefore when there is a sudden interruption in traffic, large trucks may not have the time needed to stop safely, causing serious damage when they crash. The FMCSA also listed other critical reasons for truck vs. car accidents which include: drivers on unfamiliar roads, poor surveillance, speeding, lack of attention, illness, wrongly assuming other driver’s next actions, and distractions within the vehicle.

Most fatalities and injury victims of large truck crashes are passenger vehicle occupants. Due to the weight and size of large trucks, these accidents often leave victims with devastating injuries that could require long-term medical care and a long list of expenses. When victims are injured in large-truck crashes, they may be able to pursue compensation for the damages. Damages that can be recovered may include: medical bills, rehab or physical therapy bills, lost wages, lost earning power, damage to property or vehicle, emotional distress, psychological trauma, and reduced quality of life.