Commercial vehicle accidents are different from other types of motor vehicle crashes. In Kentucky, a fully loaded commercial truck can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, while the average weight of a passenger car is around 4,000 pounds. This weight discrepancy puts car drivers and passengers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians at significant risk of injury and death when truck accidents in Kentucky occur.
However, a crash must happen before an injury can happen. Here, we encourage you to learn about the different types of trucks, common causes of accidents, how trucks crash happen, and why it’s important to contact a Kentucky truck accident lawyer after a catastrophic wreck.
Types of Commercial Trucks
As you travel throughout Kentucky, you may share the road with several types of commerical trucks, including:
- Semi-trucks, also called big-rigs, tractor-trailers, and 18-wheelers
- Delivery vans
- Box trucks
- Dump trucks
- Garbage trucks
- Tanker trucks
- Flatbed trucks
- Tow trucks
- Refrigerated trucks
Many of these trucks require commercial drivers’ licenses because of the advanced skill and knowledge required to drive a truck safely.
Common Causes of Kentucky Truck Accidents
Even with the commercial driver’s license requirement, truck accidents in Kentucky happen. Some common causes of truck wrecks include:
- Blind spots. Bigger vehicles, such as trucks, have large blind spots on all sides of the vehicles. Blind spots make it difficult for truckers to see other vehicles or pedestrians. However, truck drivers are still responsible for making safe turns and lane changes.
- Driver Fatigue. Truck driver hours of service regulations are meant to prevent drowsy driving accidents, but they don’t prevent all fatigue-related crashes. Truckers often work long hours and face pressure to get to their destinations by their employers’ deadlines. Additionally, truckers are often driving for long periods without breaks, sleeping in their vehicles, and driving at night, all of which may cause drowsiness.
- Distracted Driving. Truckers may drive for a living, but they face the same types of distractions as other drivers. A trucker who is texting and driving, programming a GPS, changing the music, talking on the phone, eating, daydreaming, or otherwise distracted may have their hands off the wheel, their eyes of the road, or their concentration away from driving safely.
- Speeding. Drivers have deadlines to meet and may exceed the speed limit if they fall behind in their schedules or are eager to end their workdays.
- Aggressive Driving. Deadlines may also cause drivers to weave in and out of traffic, tailgate, rush to beat red lights, and make other aggressive moves that could lead to a crash.
- Driving Under the Influence (DUI). Driving while intoxicated by alcohol or under the influence of drugs can cause catastrophic crashes. Unfortunately, some truck drivers use prescription drugs that interfere with safe driving, recreational drugs or alcohol, or amphetamines or cocaine to stay awake for long periods of time while driving.
- Truck Cargo. Imbalanced or overloaded cargo can interfere with a truck’s stability and make a truck more likely to lose control or tip over.
- Lost Loads. Unsecured cargo may fall from a truck and cause a serious crash when it collides with another vehicle or when other drivers have to swerve to avoid it.
- Insufficient Truck Maintenance. Trucking companies are responsible for ensuring that truck maintenance is up-to-date to prevent mechanical issues from causing dangerous accidents. Unfortunately, truck maintenance takes time, and trucking companies don’t always perform necessary checks or take care of needed repairs.
- Tire Blowouts. A failure to inspect and replace tires as necessary can lead to a tire blowout. Tire blowouts are particularly dangerous when a truck driver loses control while traveling at high speed.
- Brake Failure. When brakes fail, truck drivers may be unable to stop their vehicles in time to prevent crashes. Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) technology exists, and many new cars have this technology. However, AEB technology is not currently required for commercial vehicles.
- Insufficient Driver Training. Drivers may have commercial drivers’ licenses but may not have enough training for certain driving situations, such as traveling in bad weather.
- Truck Driver Health Issues. Trucking companies should ensure that drivers are screened for common health conditions, such as sleep apnea, that may cause them to lose control of their vehicles.
Any of these crashes may result in a severe injury or wrongful death.
Different Kinds of Truck Accidents in Kentucky
While truck wrecks have common causes, they don’t always happen in the same way. Different types of truck crashes include:
- Jackknife Wrecks. When the trailer of a semi-truck swings away from the cab, it makes a motion like a jackknife. Jackknife accidents may occur if a driver is speeding, has unbalanced cargo, or brakes too quickly.
- Swinging-Turn Crashes. Trucks often make wide turns. As they turn, part of the truck may swing out and collide with another vehicle or force a vehicle off the road.
- “No-Zone” Collisions. These crashes occur when a truck driver collides with a vehicle in the truck’s blind spot. The truck driver likely didn’t slow down or take action to avoid the crash because the trucker didn’t know anything was in their way.
- Underride Collisions. Federal regulations require many trucks to have underride protection. Underride protection prevents smaller vehicles from going underneath the truck in rear-end collisions. Unfortunately, some trucks may be missing this essential safety device or have an underride guard that doesn’t meet government regulations.
- Rear-end Crashes. Trucks take longer to stop than smaller vehicles. If a trucker doesn’t leave enough time to stop, the truck may hit the vehicle in front of it.
- T-bone Wrecks. Side-impact collisions are often severe, particularly if one or both vehicles are speeding.
If you’ve been hurt in any Kentucky truck accident wreck, then you need to act quickly to protect your potential recovery. You should contact a Kentucky truck accident lawyer immmediately.
Now is the Time to Call a Kentucky Truck Accident Lawyer
You have a limited amount of time to pursue cases for truck accidents in Kentucky. If you’ve been hurt or lost a loved one in a truck wreck, please contact our Kentucky truck accident lawyer as soon as possible for a free, no-obligation consultation. Our experienced lawyers will review your claim, explain your legal options, and discuss our No-Fee Policy with you.
We will fight for you, just as we would fight for our own family. Call us, start a live chat, or complete our online contact form to learn more