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California Commercial Truck Accidents: The Basics

Commercial truck accidents on California roadways can be devastating for victims.

An accident between two comparably-sized vehicles at highway speeds can be devastating, resulting in serious injuries or even fatalities for drivers and passengers alike as well as significant property damage. Changing the dynamics of an accident by making one of the vehicles grossly oversized comparable to the other – which is what happens in a commercial vehicle crash when one of them is a fully loaded tractor trailer – can mean a huge disparity in the types of damage done and injuries suffered.

People unlucky to be in a small passenger vehicle involved in an accident with a semi truck or 18-wheeler can easily suffer from compound bone fractures, traumatic brain injuries, internal organ damage, paralysis or can even lose their lives.

Common Causes Of Truck Accidents

In addition to the congestion that results when freight vessels are unloaded and moved to trucks for shipping – something that happens every day around the San Francisco and Oakland areas because of their busy ports – summer road travel can also lead to an increase in car-versus-truck accidents just because these vehicles are more often sharing the roadway during the summer months. Of course, sometimes accidents happen regardless of traffic volume.

Oftentimes, trucking accidents are the result of truckers who are pressured to drive for too-long periods without breaks in order to increase the number of miles they cover or the number of deliveries they can make. Some will even go so far as to forge or redact log books to reflect rest breaks they never took or stops they never made. This, of course, increases their bottom line, but it puts other drivers at risk. After all, studies have repeatedly shown that driving while fatigued can result in slowed reaction times and making errors akin to driving while intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Distracted driving is another key cause of truck accidents. Truckers are subject to the same things that tempt us behind the wheel, including:

  • Eating and drinking
  • Communicating with the trucking/freight company over CB radio or cellphone
  • Sending or receiving text messages
  • Reading or composing email
  • Personal grooming
  • Reading maps, newspapers, books, magazines or other print sources
  • Using a GPS device for navigation

These aren’t the only causes of truck accidents. Negligent maintenance of vital truck components (particularly transmissions, brakes and tires), unfamiliarity with driving in certain road or weather conditions, drunk driving, inexperience, changing traffic levels (common during the summer months when more people are on the road plus there are a number of road construction projects throughout the state), defective road planning, and the actions of other motorists (some of which may not even end up involved in the accident) can all result in crashes.

Regardless of whether a truck driver was “drowsy driving,” was distracted by a text message, was under the influence of alcohol or simply over-corrected while trying to avoid an obstacle in the roadway, if you have been seriously injured in a truck accident, you have legal rights. To learn more about those rights, and how you might be able to hold the at-fault parties responsible for your injuries, speak with an experienced personal injury attorney in your area today. Call the San Mateo- and Martinez-based Law Offices of Vincent J. Scotto, III, at 650-375-2301 for more information, or contact the firm online.

Keywords: commercial truck accident, trucking accident, crash, collision, wreck, semi, big rig, 18-wheeler