Whenever there’s an accident involving a commercial truck, whether an 18-wheeler, semi, tractor-trailer or big rigs, it can be fatal not only for the truck driver but for the occupants of the other vehicles and passers-by. To prevent such a disaster, it’s crucial to know what may lead to a truck rollover accident and understand how truck rollover accidents can be avoided.
These four factors are common causes of a truck rollover accidents that our truck accident law firm has seen in Kansas City and throughout Kansas and Missouri.
1. Driver Inexperience or Negligence
A truck driver’s negligent actions or inexperience can be both the primary cause or a contributing factor in a truck rollover accident. One all too frequent example is a truck being driven over the speed limit or at unsafe speeds given the weather conditions or terrain.
Distracted driving is another common problem. The incidence of distracted driving is on the rise in Kansas, Missouri and nationwide, and it can be particularly dangerous and deadly when truck drivers are distracted. Driving distractions come in different forms, including:
- Talking on the phone
- Impairment due to drugs or alcohol
- Texting or looking at social media, the news or the internet.
- Eating, drinking or using the radio
- Looking at billboards and not watching the road
Truckers usually travel for long distances, which can lead to fatigue, drowsy driving or even falling asleep behind the wheel. This is a particular risk for those truckers who violate the federal trucking hours-of-service regulations and drive for an extended period of time in violation of the law. Regardless or how or why a trucker becomes fatigued, drowsy driving creates a higher risk of causing a rollover or other accident.
2. Lack of Proper Truck Maintenance
Before any trip, drivers are expected to do a thorough safety inspection of their truck that takes into account the following key areas:
- Tires, wheels and rims
- Rear view mirrors
- Windshield wipers
- Lights and reflectors
- Horn and emergency equipment
If a driver fails to carry out a pre-trip inspection, there can be a increased risk of a truck rollover or other accident. For example, if the brakes are in poor condition, a driver may need to swerve dangerously to avoid a collision, and this over-steering and any over-correcting can affect the balance of the truck contribute to causing a rollover.
3. Excess or Partial Load and Cargo
Most tractor-trailers that are pulling tankers or other cargo have a high risk of a rollover due to their design. The high center of gravity makes them more prone to rollovers. For example, if the truck’s tanker is full and carrying fluids, a sudden shift can make the truck lose balance and roll over.
When the driver hits on the brakes suddenly, liquid flows can rush forward and cause a rollover as well. There is even a greater risk of danger when the truck is carrying a flammable liquid like gasoline. In addition to a rollover, there could be a potential fire outbreak or explosion.
A partially loaded cargo tank can also pose a major threat because there is more empty capacity for liquid to shift back and forth and alter the truck’s center of gravity. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), over 94 percent of rollovers involve trucks with partial loads.
Even if the truck is carrying a load that is not a liquid, an overloaded truck increases the risk of rollover accidents. Failure on the driver’s part to accurately account for the load’s height or weight can pose a similar risk due to the higher center of gravity. This can greatly contribute to the possibility of a rollover due to the imbalanced and unsecured state of the load.
4. Bad Highway Conditions
Lastly, poor road and highway conditions can make driving difficult and cause a rollover. Road conditions that are particular dangerous or prone to rollover include:
- The road is steep or downhill
- A sharp curves or winding road
- A wheel hits a curb, bump or road debris
- The shoulder is not solid or properly maintained
To avoid a collision with other vehicles or a rollover, drivers should approach these high-risk areas with special care.
Call our Kansas City Truck Accident Lawyer
Truck accidents are different from car accidents in several ways. The injuries and damage can be much more severe, the causes can be complex, trucking companies and other corporate parties may be involved, and federal regulations and transportation laws apply.
For this reason, truck accidents should be handled by an experienced Kansas City truck accident lawyer who is in the best position to defend the interest of the party who was injured and ensure maximum compensation the injuries that were sustained.
If you or a loved one were involved in a truck accident, our Kansas City truck accident lawyer is ready to answer your questions and help you make a good decisions that will protect your rights. We offer free consultations with no obligation to hire our firm, so please contact us at 816-203-0143 or by using the form below.