Commercial vehicle operators spend many hours behind the wheel. Driving a big rig is a challenging job, and it requires their full attention. Delivery trucks, tow trucks, 18-wheelers, semis and construction vehicles threaten your life on the Chicago highways every day. Due to the size of big rigs and the cargo they carry, even the slightest driver error could have devastating consequences.
Commercial vehicle operators need to keep in mind that drivers of passenger vehicles do not necessarily know how large trucks operate. You would do well not to lose sight of the dangers posed by negligent truck drivers.
Distracted truck drivers
While distracted driving is dangerous for drivers of all vehicles, the dangers posed by distracted bus or truck drivers are even higher. Although texting while driving is against the law, many truckers continue with such dangerous behavior. Complacency is often the cause of big rig driver distractions. Truckers who text, eat, drink beverages, read maps or participate in other activities put the lives of all other road users at risk.
Work zone safety
As a passenger vehicle driver, you will likely know to take extra care when you drive through a work zone. It is even more crucial for a commercial vehicle driver to be alert in work zones because they need more space to stop, and distractions can lead to rear-end accidents. It is not only the construction zone workers who are at risk but also other vehicles and their occupants.
Other examples of truck driver negligence
Truckers must scan the road ahead for about a quarter-mile or 15 seconds to give them enough time and space to react safely. The following negligent behaviors of big rig drivers can put your life at risk:
- Trip planning: If truckers fail to plan their trips properly, detours and road and weather conditions could catch them unawares. Truck drivers must include weight and height limitations they might encounter on their trips.
- Vehicle maintenance: Commercial vehicle operators must inspect their vehicles before they take to the road because malfunctions or defects with brakes, tires, and other parts could lead to accidents. Additional hazards include unsecured cargo loads.
- Speeding: Truck drivers must not only comply with posted speed restrictions. They must know to slow down in certain conditions like bad weather, while on ramps and when going through curves that could cause cargo spills, rollovers and other crashes.
- Fatigue: Big rig operators must not exceed the regulated hours of driving. If they are fatigued or ill, they cannot focus on driving, especially if they take over-the-counter medication, which often causes drowsiness.
- Signal intentions: Truckers must signal their intentions well in advance to give other drivers enough time to stay safe. If their vehicles break down, they must pull as far as possible off the road, use their flashers, place reflective triangles and use road flares to alert other drivers.
If you suffered injuries in a road accident caused by a negligent truck driver, you might have grounds to file a lawsuit. However, this could be a complicated task in which the first step would be to determine the cause of the accident. With the support and guidance of an experienced Chicago personal injury attorney, the ensuing legal proceedings may be simplified.
A lawyer can pinpoint the cause of the truck accident and determine which parties to name as defendants. Along with the truck driver, other parties at fault could include the employer or truck owner and even the vehicle manufacturer. If your lawyer’s presentation of the case in the civil court is successful, a monetary judgment may cover all your documented claims for financial and other damages.