The Kansas Department of Transportation reported over 3,375 crashes involving large trucks in one recent year, causing 952 injuries and 74 deaths. If you are one of the thousands of people injured in Kansas truck accidents yearly, you already know how the effects can impact your finances, life, and livelihood for a long time.
The Wichita truck accident lawyers at Mann Wyatt Tanksley Injury Attorneys have spent their careers defending crash victims’ rights. Our Wichita truck accident attorneys limit the number of cases we take, so we can give you the individual attention you deserve. Along with our 50 years of experience, this approach has helped us recover millions of dollars for our clients.
Why Do Semi-Truck Accidents Happen?
Some form of negligence causes most truck accidents.
A few of the most common causes of truck accidents in Wichita include the following:
- Impaired driving — Truck drivers who abuse drugs or alcohol put themselves and other drivers around them in extreme danger. These substances impair drivers’ ability to think, dull their reflexes, and make it harder to recognize hazards.
- Distracted driving — While distractions are dangerous no matter what type of vehicle someone is driving, it is even riskier for truck drivers because of how big trucks are. Typical distractions for truck drivers include talking on the phone, texting while driving, using a navigation device, listening to music, eating or drinking, grooming, and looking at traffic coming the opposite way.
- Driver fatigue — Truck drivers are more prone to tiredness because of their long hours and strict delivery schedules. The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that going more than 20 hours without sleep impacts a driver’s performance, like driving with a blood-alcohol concentration level of 0.08 percent. The effects of driver fatigue include slower reflexes, impaired cognition, decreased situational awareness, and a higher chance of falling asleep at the wheel.
- Speeding — Semi-trucks and other heavy vehicles can be difficult to control, especially at high speeds. Because of this, truck drivers need to be careful when merging, passing, and turning. Otherwise, they could run into another vehicle or overturn the truck.
- Following too closely — The weight of semi-trucks and other large vehicles means truck drivers need extra time to slow down or stop. If truck drivers don’t watch their speed and following distance, they may be unable to stop in time to avoid hitting a car in front of them.
- Not checking blind spots — Trucks have significant blind spots that drivers need to be aware of, particularly when passing, turning, and merging. If truck drivers do not check their blind spots thoroughly, they could collide with or crush a nearby vehicle.
- Driver inexperience — Learning the ins and outs of driving a large truck takes time. New drivers who haven’t had much time behind the wheel may not know what to watch for or how trucks handle compared to smaller cars. This lack of expertise makes inexperienced drivers much more likely to be involved in a car accident.
- Defective parts — Trucks are complicated machines, and all their components must work properly to minimize the chance of an accident. If a critical part fails due to a manufacturing or design defect, the driver could lose control of the truck. Some parts that may cause an accident if a defect include the truck’s brakes, suspension, steering system, transmission, and tires.
- Lack of maintenance — Truck parts can sometimes fail, even when designed and manufactured correctly. Trucks must undergo regular maintenance to minimize the possibility of a worn component leading to an accident. If a maintenance crew does not do their job correctly, a damaged part may not be repaired and could cause an 18-wheeler accident.
- Cargo shifting or coming loose in transit — Because trucks carry thousands of pounds of cargo, the weight needs to be distributed to maintain the truck’s balance and center of gravity. When a truck’s load is not properly secured or balanced, the truck can become challenging to control, leading to a crash.
- Bad weather — Snow, rain, ice, and other types of bad weather can make it even more of a challenge for truck drivers to avoid a crash. A truck driver’s job is to be aware of these dangers and take appropriate steps to minimize the chance of a collision. If truck drivers do not slow down in bad weather, put chains on their tires, or take other actions, they significantly increase the odds of an accident.
- Poor road conditions — Sand, gravel, potholes, and other road hazards can cause truck drivers to lose control and collide with nearby vehicles.