When it comes to trucking accidents, a number of different myths exist. Here are some of the most prominent myths, along with the truth behind them.
1. Truck safety is improving dramatically.
Significant efforts to reduce the incidents of truck accidents began in 1997. The goal of these campaigns was to lower the number of truck accident fatalities by 50 percent over a decade. Unfortunately, although there has been a slight reduction in the number of fatalities per mile driven, the overall number of fatalities has remained virtually the same each year.
2. Truck drivers’ required sleep schedules ensure that they are always well rested.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration imposes strict guidelines on truck drivers to ensure that they get enough rest and don’t spend too many hours driving without taking a break. Unfortunately, many drivers disregard these rules to make more money. Thus, fatigue is still a common problem among truck drivers.
3. Fatal truck crashes are often caused by drivers of smaller vehicles.
Some fatal truck crashes are caused by drivers of passenger vehicles. However, the party most likely at fault is heavily dependent on the type of crash. For example, according to American Trucking Associations, the driver of a passenger car was at fault in approximately 80 percent of rear-end fatal crashes, while the driver of a truck was at fault in approximately 98 percent of fatal crashes that involved backing. When all types of crashes that caused injury were examined, researchers found that truck drivers were responsible for the accident nearly half of the time.
4. Truck drivers never drive while intoxicated.
The regulations imposed on truck drivers with regard to drinking and driving are more strict than those imposed on the drivers of other vehicles. Nonetheless, some truck drivers still operate their vehicles under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Although the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that only 3 percent of fatally injured truck drivers had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent or higher in 2014, this statistic does not include those drivers who caused a crash while under the influence of alcohol who were not fatally injured.
5. Truck drivers don’t drive with distractions.
Like all other drivers, truck drivers are prone to becoming distracted by fatigue, cell phones, the radio or even their own thoughts. When this occurs, they are likely to cause accidents.
6. All truck accident cases take years to settle.
While it is true that some truck accident claims may require years of ongoing litigation, most are settled much sooner. In fact, insurance companies often settle claims outside of court in order to avoid the added expense and bad publicity that comes with a public trial. Even if a lawsuit does go to court, victims are not required to be in the courtroom at all times, especially if they are still dealing with medical issues.
7. It is impossible to get a settlement from a big trucking company.
Some people mistakenly believe that big trucking companies are too powerful and can never be forced to pay a settlement. However, when you have a skilled attorney working on your behalf and the evidence is on your side, winning against these large companies is not out of reach.
8. You can easily file a claim on your own.
Trucking companies and their insurance providers do not want to pay a settlement if they can avoid it. Without the guidance of an experienced personal injury attorney, claimants face a difficult battle. Rather than deal with these challenges, most victims decide to seek counsel from a qualified legal representative.