Truck and tractor trailer accidents can be devastating to a victim and their entire family. Because of the immense size and weight of a truck, a semi truck accident can be catastrophic even at low speeds. Common injuries from a collision with a truck include back, spinal cord, brain injury, and even death. If you or your loved one has been injured in a truck accident in Alaska, you may be entitled to collect damages.
Truckers are commonly under increased pressure to meet company deadlines by their trucking companies. This pressure can lead to driver fatigue, substance abuse of drugs used for sleep deprivation, and not having the time to properly maintain the trucks themselves.
Truck Rollovers are occurring more and more frequently on Alaska’s highways. The size and the way the weight is distributed in a truck can make them unstable. While truck rollovers can at times be caused by the truck driver’s negligence, usually truck rollovers are the result of a defective tire, design flaw or improperly secured load. Tire defects such as blowouts or tread separation can cause accidents that can lead to serious injuries or even death. When a truck does rollover, passing cars often suffer the brunt of the injuries and devastation.
As Sport Utility Vehicles (“SUVs”) have become very popular with families today, there has been an increase in accidents. Rollovers of SUVs account for 60% of their fatalities. Rollovers are more common in SUV The lack of stability in an SUV because of its narrow base and tall body makes it easy for them to rollover, especially when they run off the road or hit a curb or a ditch.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
There are several main reasons that a truck causes an accident. These are:
- Turning: Large trucks need a lot of room to turn. It is common for the truck driver to use more than one lane of traffic to make a right turn. This often results in unsuspecting passenger vehicles being crushed.
- Fatigue: One study indicates the average truck driver only gets 4.8 hours of sleep per night. Clearly this is not enough rest. Although the laws have been changed limiting a trucker’s drive time, studies show some truckers still continue to drive long hours in order to keep up with the company demands.
- Brake Time: Large trucks can’t stop on a dime, which leads to a great number of rear-end accidents. A rear-end collision from a truck is always more devastating than with an automobile, due to the weight of the truck.
- Jack-knife: Large trucks can jack-knife if they come to a sudden stop and the load shifts. This sudden shift causes the trailer to come around and go sideways. When this happens, there is no place for a passenger vehicle to go.
- Stimulants: Due to the long hours on the road, many truckers have turned to using stimulants to keep themselves awake. Often these stimulants are illegal. Once these stimulants wear off, truck drivers usually tire rather quickly causing them to fall asleep at the wheel.
Semis or 18-Wheelers
Semis or 18-Wheeler accidents can result from unsafe driving, oversized loads and other unsafe practices that put other motorists as well as the truck driver at risk.
The three main causes of tractor trailer accidents are:
- Jack-Knife Accidents – A jack-knife truck accident can be catastrophic for all who come in contact with the truck, including the truck driver. A jack-knife is when a truck with a tractor goes into a skid and the trailer swings out and stops to form a 90 degree angle. Jackknifing usually occurs when the drive wheels lock while the front wheels and the trailer keep rolling forward. A jack-knife can cause multi-car pile-ups, which often result in many fatalities.
- Unsecured Loads – When equipment or loads are not properly secured, they can shift or fall off the vehicle. This can cause an obstacle course of debris for other vehicles. When a truck driver changes lanes or turns the unsecured load, the inside of a trailer can shift and cause the vehicle to lose control. The driver, truck owner, and the manufacturer can all be held responsible for putting innocent people in harm’s way.
- Wheel Blow Outs – When the tire tread on a truck becomes old or is defective, a blow out can occur. A blow out can result in an immediate loss of control, such as when the back end of the truck begins to fishtail. When this occurs, the truck can flip or go airborne, causing a rollover. A blowout can also cause the truck to stop abruptly, which could result in a pile-up behind it.
Because of their size and shape, delivery trucks often have obstructed views that limit their ability to see other drivers. This obstructed view often results in motor vehicle accidents. In addition, delivery truck drivers may also pull over in areas that they should not be in order to deliver their goods. Parking in these areas creates blind spots and obstacles for normal traffic to work around and often leads to accidents.
Anchorage Law Firm Representing Truck Accident Victims – Free Consultations
Seriously injured in a truck accident in the State of Alaska? Want to know if you have a legal case? Want to know what your car accident case is worth? Call Ben Crittenden, an experienced truck accident lawyer, at 907-771-9002 for a FREE legal consultation regarding your auto injury case. Visit our contact page to send us a message directly.
We proudly serve Alaska including the areas of Anchorage, Kenai, Fairbanks, Eagle River, Wasilla, Mat-su Valley, Homer, Juneau, Bethel, and Barrow.