Perhaps the most intimidating and dangerous collisions that occur are those that involve a commercial vehicle and a smaller passenger vehicle. A crash between a semi-truck and a four-wheeled vehicle often results in tragedy for the occupants of the smaller vehicle.
Bad choices while driving can increase the chance of a crash, but there are also factors outside of a driver’s control that increase the risk of a wreck. For example, maintenance issues are a serious safety concern for commercial vehicles. Research by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) indicates that as many as one in 10 collisions caused by a commercial truck relate to issues with the vehicle. The following common issues with a vehicle might increase the chance of a collision or the severity of any crash that occurs involving an affected truck.
Cheap or weak underride guards
The large difference in size between commercial trucks and passenger vehicles is what creates the potential for an underride collision. Smaller passenger vehicles can end up underneath the trailer of a commercial truck. Federal law does require rear underride guards on trailers, but many companies buy the smallest and cheapest guards the law permits. Improper and poorly-maintained underride guards and significantly increase the likelihood of a fatal underride crash.
Issues with brakes and wheels
Commercial vehicles are difficult to drive safely in part because they are so large and therefore so difficult to maneuver or stop. To ensure the best performance possible, a commercial truck needs tires with excellent tread and well-maintained brakes. Many preventable collisions relate to multiple tire blowouts or brake failures.
Improper trailer loading
While technically not a maintenance issue, an imbalanced trailer can still be incredibly dangerous and the primary cause of a collision. Too much weight in the front or back of the trailer or on either side of the trailer could increase the chances of a driver losing control. Items shifting due to improper loading or a driver being unaware of fluid contents may greatly increase the chance of someone being unable to do what is necessary for safety in traffic.
When it comes to injurious scenarios involving collisions related to loading or maintenance issues, a business may have liability to crash victims. Seeking legal guidance and learning more about factors that contribute to semi-truck collisions can help people to make informed decisions in the wake of sustaining harm in this way.