It is no secret that distracted driving is dangerous. Each year, the US Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) releases a report detailing the number of distraction-related deaths on American highways. In 2016, there were 3,450 fatalities due to some form of distraction while behind the wheel of the car. But what happens when one vehicle is a truck weighing between 10,000 and 26,000 pounds?
Bigger Truck, Higher Stakes, No Room for Distraction
One study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a division of the US Department of Transportation, shed a little light on what event is likely to cause a large truck to crash. In examining more than 1,000 accidents where a large truck was involved, three critical causes for the crash emerged. First, the driver traveled out of their lane, whether off the road or into another lane of traffic. Second, the driver lost control of the truck because they were either traveling too fast for conditions, there was a problem with the rig, there were poor road conditions or other causes. Third, the truck collided with the read end of another car. In other words, the biggest cause of accidents with large trucks, semis, or other oversized vehicles was a distraction.
When an Accident Happens
Of the more than 110,000 accidents involving large trucks, 74 percent involved a smaller vehicle. It is one thing for a small car to become distracted by a cell phone, conversation or another task, the stakes are much higher when it happens behind the wheel of a five to 13-ton vehicle. In 2014 alone, large trucks accounted for 8 percent of all vehicle fatalities on American roads.
So, what do you do if you are ever in an accident with a distracted truck driver?
- Call the police. Regardless of the level of damage done to your car, it is important that the proper authorities are called so they can create a police report. Insurance companies will want this document to determine fault and who to pay when a claim is submitted. Attorneys will want a copy to determine whether you are entitled to compensation for your loss. Tell the police everything that happened and everything that you saw that suggested the driver of the truck was distracted. Be sure this information is included in the police report.
- Take pictures. As soon as you are safe to the side of the road, begin taking pictures of your vehicle, the truck, the trucks identification number, the driver, and the surrounding areas. Be sure to time stamp the photos for more accurate reporting at a later time.
- Contact a truck accident lawyer. No one necessarily thinks of seeking legal guidance until there is a problem settling with the driver, the trucking company, or the insurance. By then, it is usually too late to ensure you receive compensation. If you are involved in an accident with a distracted truck driver, call the truck accident lawyers at The Elan Law Firm to discuss your case. We can help you navigate the claims process and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.