As a California resident, you don’t need any reminding of our state’s traffic issues. They’re particularly a big issue here in the Los Angeles area, like Torrance.
These collisions don’t just involve cars, motorcycles, and bicycles, but tractor-trailers as well. They happen on both freeways and city streets and in rural areas, residential, and urban ones. Truck accidents can be particularly debilitating or fatal, so it’s important to know how often they occur, the different types of crashes, these collisions’ causes, and the injuries that stem from these wrecks.
Since many of these crashes are catastrophic, it’s also critical that you know when to reach out to a Torrance truck accident lawyer after a collision.
Statistics About Trucking Accidents
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) data shows that in 2020, over 4,000 people died in large truck accidents. Those same statistics reveal that the number of people who died in these accidents was 28% higher in 2020 than in 2009. Among those fatalities, only 15% of those were truck operators. At least 68% were passenger car occupants, and another 16% were pedestrians or motorcyclists.
Despite the increase in trucking accidents in 2020, the same IIHS data cited above outlines how only 2.4% of all accidents typically involve a large truck. Those same statistics also outline how only 16% of these trucking accidents are the driver’s fault.
In terms of when and where tractor-trailer crashes happen, trucking accidents can happen anywhere and at any time. However, most of these accidents occur outside of urban areas during daylight hours on weekdays.
The Types of Trucking Accidents in Torrance
A tractor-trailer or semi-truck, on average, weighs more than 30,000 pounds, while the average passenger vehicle only weighs around 4,000 pounds. The IIHS contends that due to the truck’s weight and the load they are hauling, trucks often take up to 40% more distance than cars to stop.
Unfortunately, there is nothing a truck driver can do to combat simple physics; they could be the most attentive driver on the road, but the stopping distance of their fully-loaded truck won’t change. The nature of trucks and the loads they carry often lead to mistakes or many types of trucking accidents. Some of the most common types of tractor-trailer crashes that often occur in Torrance, CA, include:
- Rollovers: Any onlooker of a truck rollover knows how harrowing it can be. They’re relatively common and always tragic. Chances are you’ve driven by the scene of an accident involving a truck that has rolled over before. Often, these occur because the truck driver took an exit or turned too quickly, but other times it’s due to issues like an unbalanced load.
- Underride Truck Accidents: These accidents happen when a smaller vehicle collides with the back or side of a truck or trailer and gets lodged underneath. These truck accidents regularly result in fatalities or severe injuries for the smaller vehicle’s occupants as the passenger compartment gets crushed.
- Jackknife Accidents: These collisions happen when a truck’s trailer swings around and hits the truck’s cab or the cab and the trailer fold at the joint. Many factors can cause jackknifing, but these wrecks often result from sudden braking, a slippery surface, or wrong turning.
Causes of Torrance Truck Accidents
Unfortunately, many factors contribute to these different examples of truck accidents that occur in Torrance. Some of these are beyond truck drivers’ control, while others result from negligence.
Truck accidents are typically the result of driver error, either the passenger vehicle driver or the truck driver. Responsible drivers can prevent many of these catastrophes. Here are some of the most common causes of trucking accidents:
- Distracted Driving: All drivers know that texting and driving is dangerous, but truck drivers are especially susceptible to distracted driving because they spend long hours on the road in Torrance. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), truck drivers drive 60 hours per week and over 107,000 miles annually.
- Driver Fatigue: Truck drivers are on the road for long hours and often suffer from fatigue. Truck driving is stressful, and many drivers are under extreme pressure to meet deadlines. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates the hours a truck driver can be on the road, but many truckers break these rules.
- Speeding: Speeding is one of the most common causes of truck accidents. Truck drivers are often under pressure to meet deadlines, and they may speed to make up time. Speeding makes it difficult to stop or turn the truck, increasing an accident’s severity.
- Poor Maintenance: Trucks are large and heavy and require regular maintenance to function correctly. If a truck is not properly maintained, it can break down or have mechanical problems that can lead to accidents. Sometimes routine maintenance falls to the wayside because trucking companies are trying to meet deadlines.
How To Prevent Torrance Truck Accidents
Since many truck accidents are attributable to driver error or some other type of negligence, that means they are mostly preventable.
Truckers can greatly reduce their risk of causing an accident by:
- Ensuring they receive adequate rest, so they don’t feel tired
- Giving themselves ample time to reach their final destination, so they don’t feel the need to speed or otherwise drive recklessly to meet a deadline
- Performing pre-trip inspections and checking truck records to ensure their employer has performed regularly scheduled maintenance before taking the tractor-trailer out on the road
- Putting down their smartphones, whether to text, make a call, play a game, or look something up online, until they’ve arrived at a safe stopping point
- Wearing seat belts
- Maintaining a lookout for potentially hazardous situations
- Obeying the rules of the road
Sadly, as hinted at above, anyone could prevent many trucking accidents. Not only must truckers do their part to ensure the safe operation of their vehicle, but trucking companies must put in an effort too. They share the responsibility to ensure that their drivers get plenty of rest, have manageable schedules, and promote safety practices like wearing seatbelts.
Who Is Liable for Truck Accidents?
Truck accidents are complicated because there are usually multiple parties involved. The truck driver, the trucking company, the truck’s owner, and the manufacturer of the tractor-trailer itself or its parts can all potentially be held responsible for a Torrance, CA truck accident.
A California truck driver might be responsible if they were speeding, distracted, or influenced by drugs or alcohol. The trucking company might be liable if they did not provide adequate training to the driver or adequately maintain the truck. The drivers of the passenger vehicles involved in the accident might also be held accountable. Other potentially liable parties include cargo companies, including freight loaders.
An experienced truck accident lawyer like ours at Frost Law Firm, PC, can help you determine who is liable for your accident and get you the compensation you deserve.
Possible Injuries and Preventing Trucking Accidents
To prevent these accidents, you must be aware of the common causes and take precautions when driving. Contact a Torrance truck accident lawyer to discuss your case if you or a loved one have injuries from a truck accident. Some of the most common injuries in truck accidents include:
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Spinal cord injuries
- Internal bleeding
- Broken bones
What To Do if You Had a Trucking Accident in Torrance
Unfortunately, despite all this talk of safety and prevention, trucking accidents still happen. If you are involved in a truck accident, seek medical attention immediately and contact a truck accident lawyer at Frost Law Firm, PC as soon as possible.
Our Frost Law Firm, PC Torrance truck accident lawyer team can help you navigate the complex legal system and get the compensation you deserve. Torrance truck accident lawyers have the resources to investigate your accident, gather evidence, and build a strong case.