Truck rollover accidents can be some of the most deadly crashes on the highway. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) states that an average of four cargo tank truck rollovers happen every day in the United States. And, many of these incidents are preventable, as they occur due to driver negligence or poor truck maintenance.
In a car versus truck accident, the truck is going to win just about every time, simply due to its sheer size and weight. When sharing the road with 18-wheelers, it’s important to understand why some of these rollover accidents might occur.
Distracted driving dangers in Oklahoma
Distracted driving is not only a problem among teens and other drivers. Truckers do it too. The FMCSA also reports many tractor trailer drivers operate their vehicles while using cell phones, navigation systems, or other electronic devices.
Driving while drowsy, or fatigued driving, also contributes to truck rollover accidents. Drowsy driving lessens reaction time and makes drivers less attentive to changing roadway and traffic conditions, as well as other vehicles around them. When a distracted or fatigued driver is suddenly aware of a dangerous roadway situation, their first reaction is usually to slam on the brakes, which in a truck can lead to a rollover crash.
Reckless driving can cause truck accidents
Just like everybody else, when truckers get behind the wheel, they’re responsible for operating their vehicles in a safe manner. The massive size of a tractor trailer requires that it’s handled with a duty of care to all drivers on the road. However, many truck drivers feel that, because their rigs are bigger than anything else on the road, they can operate their huge vehicles recklessly. And, when this happens, they put themselves and everyone else on the road in danger. Risky behaviors include speeding, driving too fast in poor weather conditions, or taking turns too quickly—these can all quickly turn into a dangerous rollover accident.
Badly maintained brakes put other drivers at risk
Trucking companies are responsible for ensuring that their truck fleet is maintained in good working order, including the condition of the brakes. Inadequate or poorly functioning brakes can prevent a driver from stopping their truck quickly or safely enough to avoid an accident. Tractor trailer braking systems work with hydraulics, and need ample room to stop the vehicle. According to the FMCSA, 54% of all rollovers are the result of malfunctioning brakes.
Improperly secured loads also cause rollovers
With 18-wheelers, the position and security of the cargo and load is just as important as the maintenance of the truck. With an improperly secured load, a sharp turn or drastic change in speed can cause it to shift, moving thousands of pounds from inside of the trailer to the other in a matter of seconds. This shift can make the trailer unsteady and turn over on its side. The trucking company and operators should be responsible for ensuring cargo is properly loaded and secured with the trailer.
The experienced truck accident attorneys at Cunningham & Mears provide skilled counsel to clients in the Oklahoma City area. If you were injured in a tractor trailer accident, we can help you secure the compensation you’re owed. For a free consultation at our offices, call 405-232-1212 or fill out our contact form today.
Ryan Y. Cunningham is a founding partner of Cunningham & Mears. Mr. Cunningham devotes his practice to protecting the rights of injured Oklahoma residents. In addition to assisting injured clients, Mr. Cunningham endeavors to improve personal injury representation by speaking on issues related to personal injury law to attorneys in continuing legal education courses and to law students. Learn More