Truck accidents can be devastating. Although all automobile accidents have the potential of creating horrible injuries, trucks can create extremely harmful injuries due to their large size.
As a direct result of the potential harm that truck accidents can cause, the trucking industry is heavily regulated. In Pennsylvania, trucks must be registered with the state. There is also a maximum size and weight limit. For trucks that exceed the limit, trucks must obtain a permit to authorize them to operate these vehicles on the road. Trucks carrying hazardous materials are also held to a high standard of care due to the extremely dangerous nature of the materials. Truck drivers have to take care to secure the materials so they are not released onto the road where they can harm innocent bystanders.
Despite the heavy regulation of the truck industry, many truck companies are only concerned with their truck deliveries and the drivers are encouraged to ignore the laws. However, it is important that the drivers and the companies are held liable for their respective negligence.
After a truck accident, the first inquiry to be made is how long the truck has been on the road. Truck drivers often drive across country and consequently, they are on the road for long hours. However, as a driver on the road, truck drivers owe a duty to the rest of the drivers on the road not to drive when they are fatigued or otherwise distracted. Sleepy drivers are not always aware of their fatigued state. Even when they are aware, truck drivers are motivated to continue driving to reach their destination on time. Falling asleep on the road or losing control of the truck as a result of fatigue is negligent. Another cause of truck accidents based on driver error is speeding.
Vehicle condition, weather, and roadway conditions can also be the cause of truck accidents.