Our Macon, GA truck accident lawyers explain why truck wrecks happen and why you should contact us if you’ve been seriously injured
Determining the cause of a truck accident in Macon, Georgia can become quite complicated due to the many factors investigators, lawyers and judges must consider. The accident may be a result of the driver, the trucking company, or the company that shipped the freight — or perhaps some combination of all three.
Generally speaking, there are a handful of common reasons why truck accidents happen.
Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of trucking and automobile accidents in Georgia, despite the state’s strong distracted driving prevention laws. When a truck driver looks away from the road, even for a second, to use their phone, adjust the radio, or for any other reason, it puts themselves in a position to cause an accident. It only takes a second or two of not paying attention to cause a life changing accident.
Truckers often battle fatigue. Long hours spent behind the wheel can be very tiresome, and many drivers work extended hours to meet their deadlines. Fatigue can be very dangerous because it causes drivers to have slower reaction times and inhibits their decision-making skills.
Unsecured or improperly packaged loads
How a truck is loaded with freight is essential to road safety. Cargo must be appropriately secured, even when inside an enclosed trailer. The weight of the shipment must also be adequately distributed on the axles so that the truck can operate safely. If the freight isn’t correctly loaded or secured, the trailer can become dangerous to operate, particularly when driving on winding roads or windy weather conditions.
Speeding is against the law for any vehicle. However, trucks that are speeding become very dangerous indeed. Trucks can weigh up to 80,000 pounds when filled to capacity. With this much weight moving at high speed, stopping suddenly becomes impossible. A speeding truck needs extra room to stop. Additionally, if a speeding truck has to stop quickly, the momentum from the trailer may also cause the truck to jackknife.
Driving a semi-truck is much different than driving a passenger vehicle. Truck drivers are required to have special training and obtain a commercial driver’s license to operate these vehicles. Drivers who don’t have proper training can be dangerous to themselves and others because they may not know how to handle the vehicle under different road and weather conditions.
Bad weather conditions
Mother Nature can make driving difficult for everyone. For truck drivers, poor weather conditions such as fog, heavy rain or snow and ice can make driving especially dangerous. Trucks need more room to stop than a regular vehicle on dry pavement. Wet or icy pavement will increase this distance even more and make changing lanes more difficult. An inexperienced or inadequately trained truck driver may not be able to maneuver these larger vehicles safely in poor weather conditions.
Improper vehicle maintenance
Semi-trucks can move tons of cargo thousands of miles each week. With this much wear and tear on the vehicle parts, trucks must undergo routine maintenance to operate safely. If a truck doesn’t get the proper maintenance, it can become dangerous to operate and result in brake failure or tire blowouts. Maintenance of the vehicle is typically the responsibility of the trucking company or the driver if they are self-employed.
There are times when a truck may have been maintained according to schedule, but the maintenance company doesn’t do a good job or a manufacturer produces a defective truck part. This can lead to equipment failure. If the accident is a result of equipment failure, the maintenance company or the manufacturer may be held responsible for all injuries and damages.
Driving under the influence
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal for anyone operating a vehicle in Georgia. Under GDOT guidelines, truck drivers must also refrain from operating a vehicle while taking certain prescription medications and over-the-counter products. Drivers who use any of these while behind the wheel are at risk of causing an accident. Even high levels of legal stimulants like caffeine can cause over-reactions when operating a semi-truck. All of these substances must be considered when looking at the cause of a trucking accident.
Contact the best Georgia trucking accident attorney
Trucking accidents almost always lead to life-changing injuries for the people in the passenger vehicle. These injuries can require extensive medical care and extended periods for recovery. All of this can lead to debilitating financial losses and harm to the victims and their families.
Since the cause of a truck accident can be complicated to determine, and because there is a potential for several entities to be held liable for the event, it is essential that you speak with an experienced Macon truck accident lawyer about your accident as soon as possible after it occurs. At the law firm of Westmoreland, Patterson, Moseley & Hinson, we have successfully represented truck accident victims in Georgia and throughout the southeastern United States in personal injury and wrongful death claims for more than 50 years. We are one of Georgia’s oldest and most distinguished law firms.