The trucking industry is governed by strict trucking regulations set by federal and state governments. The standards dictate everything from how long a truck driver can stay behind the wheel before resting to maintenance requirements, cargo-loading protocols, and more. Their purpose is clear — to reduce the likelihood of devastating truck accidents.
Sadly, violations occur, sometimes with tragic consequences. If you were injured in a Southfield truck accident, the attorneys of Christensen Law can help. For more than 30 years, our firm has been dedicated to serving injured victims in Southfield and the surrounding Michigan areas. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn more.
What Are the Top Causes of Truck Accidents in Southfield?
Many different factors can contribute to a truck accident in Michigan. The most common causes include:
- Driver fatigue: Truck drivers often work long hours and non-standard schedules, making driver fatigue incredibly common. Drowsy driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. In one study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), 13 percent of drivers involved in truck accidents said they were overtired at the time of the wreck.
- Impaired driving: If a truck driver is drunk or under the influence of drugs, they may suffer from impaired judgment, slowed reaction time, and lack of coordination. Even prescriptions or over-the-counter (OTC) medications can cause dangerous impairment.
- Distracted driving: Drivers who are distracted by cell phones, GPS devices, or even work-related communications are far more likely to overlook imminent traffic risks and cause destructive collisions.
- Aggressive driving: Speeding, lane weaving, and tailgating are all forms of aggressive driving. When truck drivers behave aggressively on the road, they may not leave themselves with enough time or distance to avoid causing wrecks.
- Driver inexperience: The trucking industry is experiencing a shortage of qualified drivers. In desperation, some companies have hired inexperienced or poorly trained drivers who may be less capable of navigating their rigs through traffic.
- Poor maintenance: If truck drivers, owners, or mechanics fail to inspect or maintain trucks properly, critical truck components such as the brakes, steering system, or tires can fail and cause deadly loss-of-control accidents.
- Improper cargo loading: When the cargo in a truck’s trailer is overloaded or unbalanced, the freight can shift during transit and throw off the vehicle’s center of balance. This can lead to cargo spills, tire blowouts, jackknife truck accidents, and rollover crashes.
- Truck company negligence: Truck companies are responsible for hiring qualified drivers, performing background checks, maintaining their fleets, and ensuring that their employees are fully aware of all federal safety standards. Any negligence on their part could result in a truck accident lawsuit in Michigan.
- Defective truck components: In some cases, truck parts can fail due to faulty design or assembly. When this occurs, injured victims may be able to hold manufacturers or sellers responsible for their losses.
Southfield Truck Crash Facts
Southfield sees a large number of semi-truck accidents every year. According to the most current data from the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning, in Oakland County:
- There were 1,851 truck and bus crashes in a single recent year.
- Truck and bus crashes made up 4.58 percent of the 40,394 crashes throughout the county that year.
- Oakland County had the second-highest number of truck and bus crashes throughout Michigan, following only Wayne County.
Statewide, the Michigan Department of State Police reports:
- There were 16,604 truck and bus crashes in the state, which accounted for more than 5 percent of all Michigan traffic accidents that year.
- Nearly 17 percent (2,805 crashes) resulted in bodily injuries.
- In 105 of these crashes, there were fatal injuries.
Tips for Driving Safely Near Trucks
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recommends the following 10 tips to help passenger vehicle drivers navigate safely near trucks:
- Avoid lingering in a truck’s blind spots. They are much larger than the blind spots in a passenger vehicle.
- Take special care when passing trucks. Make sure you can see the driver in vehicle side mirrors, signal clearly, and pass without delay.
- Never cut too close in front of a truck to avoid override collisions.
- Avoid tailgating large trucks to prevent underride truck accidents.
- Give trucks extra space to complete wide turns. Do not attempt to force your way past a turning truck.
- Be patient with truck drivers, who may require more time to speed up or slow down and are sometimes even restricted by speed-limiting devices.
- Always wear a safety belt on the road.
- Avoid distracted driving.
- Do not drive while tired.
- Never drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
What to Do If You’re in a Truck Accident
If you were seriously injured in a Southfield truck accident, you need a truck accident lawyer right away. It’s guaranteed that the truck company will have their insurance representatives on the scene before the rig can be towed away. You’ll want an attorney to get a jump start on your case as soon as possible, too.
You can also take the following steps to protect your rights and improve your chances of recovering the compensation you need:
- Seek prompt medical attention. Follow through on your doctor’s recommended treatment plans and attend all follow-up appointments.
- Keep a daily journal. Document your recovery process, including your pain, physical limitations, and other personal impacts from your injuries.
- Gather as much evidence as possible. If you can, take photos of the crash scene and visible injuries. Try to get contact information and statements from any witnesses.
- Maintain a record of all accident-related expenses. Truck accident injuries can result in some of the worst injuries, resulting in long-term pain and permanent disabilities. Keeping a record of all your losses may be important proof if you need to file a lawsuit.
- Keep it private. Avoid discussing the details of the accident with anyone other than your truck accident attorney.
Contact a Southfield Truck Accident A Today
At Christensen Law, we have extensive experience representing truck accident victims. We know how to investigate these complex claims to find out what happened and fight for you to be compensated appropriately, whether that’s at the negotiating table or trial. We will do everything we can to establish a strong case on your behalf and fight for the justice you deserve.
When you are ready to discuss the details of your Southfield, MI truck accident with a qualified attorney, contact us for your free consultation.