How Dangerous is a Speeding Truck Driver?
Accidents involving trucks and tractor-trailers can be pretty severe. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, there are almost 7,000 truck and tractor-trailer crashes in the state every year. Between 100 and 200 of these accidents result in fatalities annually.
The severity of these accidents is not surprising because commercial large vehicles are heavier than passenger vehicles. When the weight of the truck is combined with high speed, the outcome can be quite tragic.
This is why people who are involved in accidents with large commercial vehicles tend to suffer significant injuries. The authorities know this too. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has capped the upper-speed limit for all vehicles at 70 miles per hour for good reason. Even then, the maximum speed limit in Pennsylvania can be adjusted to account for road and weather conditions. Our state can review the speed limits on its roads during dangerous weather conditions. These new, temporary limits are usually put in place by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission for the duration of the weather conditions.
Trucking companies often offer an incentive to get their product to its destination as fast as possible. Commercial truck drivers want to keep to their schedule to avoid conflict with their employers and trucking companies want to maximize profit. Ignoring weather conditions, posted speed limits, failing to slow down or yield to passenger vehicles at exit and entrance ramps, driving at excessive speed in a large truck can cause catastrophic injuries to motorists and passengers in other vehicles.
If you believe your truck accident was caused by a trucker driving at high speeds you need an experienced truck accident attorney with a proven track record to determine who is responsible and help you fully recover from your injuries and financial losses.
What Are the Types of Speeding Accidents?
All vehicles are at risk of causing an accident when they speed. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), speeding remains the number one factor in 35 percent of fatal accidents each year.
Speeding in any vehicle is risky but with their sheer weight and size, longer braking distances, and high center of gravity, large speeding trucks are especially likely to cause a serious accident.
Speeding can lead to:
- Rear-end accidents. A rear-end accident occurs when a driver fails to stop in time to avoid colliding into the back of the vehicle in front of them.
- Rollover accidents. A rollover accident happens when a speeding truck driver loses control of their truck. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) defines truck rollovers as an “overturn” of a large commercial vehicle. This can include crashes in which trucks roll multiple times and crashes in which a truck overturns onto either side.
- T-bone accidents. Also called side-impact crashes or broadside crashes, these can occur when a tractor trailer speeds through an intersection, ignoring traffic signs and signals and collides into the side of another vehicle. These can be among the most devastating crashes and have the most serious injuries for the involved motorists in the struck vehicle.
Speeding can technically occur when a driver simply ignored the posted speed limits. But other factors contribute to what is a reasonable and safe speed for road or traffic conditions. All drivers but especially the operators of semi-trucks need to take into account ALL environmental factors such as inclement weather, traffice patterns and congestion, road construction or road hazards such as debris or other conditions.
Many commercial truck drivers in Pennsylvania take these rules seriously. Unfortunately, a small percentage of drivers ignore safe-speed guidelines and cause accidents.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a crashed caused by a speeding truck driver, you may have tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills, loss of wages, loss of your primary mode of transportation and more. Call Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys for a free case evaluation to determine if the driver or company should be held liable for your losses.
What Causes Speeding Truck Drivers?
The speed of commerce in the U.S. runs pretty fast, and trucks play a crucial role in making that happen. As a key player in the nation’s logistics, trucks lug tons of goods across the country every year.
With recent positive developments in both the retail industry and the ever-rising demand for one-day shipping by customers, the supply chain and logistics industry has been forced to adapt.
To make speedy deliveries a reality, truckers are often forced to work with stricter delivery deadlines and drive for longer hours. As a result, many truckers are in the habit of driving too fast, at speeds that are at least 10 miles above the recommended speed limits.
While it’s great for customers to get their orders overnighted and products delivered quickly, the development is taking a toll on truck drivers. Commercial truck drivers often must work longer shifts and do so with less sleep.
This pressure can contribute to the number of accidents involving trucks and tractor-trailers. The longer schedules and driving distance aren’t the only reasons for truckers speeding, though.
There are many reasons why commercial truck drivers drive too fast. The trucker may be:
- Driving while distracted – Talking on the phone, texting, or eating while driving. If the driver is not focused on the road, he/she may fail to notice – and react to – traffic ahead or a change in road conditions that warrant reduced speed.
- Driving aggressively – Sometimes, truckers (as well as car and SUV drivers) tailgate other drivers with the intention of encouraging them to speed up. However, this can be extremely dangerous.
- Young or inexperienced – The trucking industry has seen a significant driver shortage in recent years, so the industry just hires people who can drive rather than people who are experienced truck drivers.
- Paid by the mile – This means that the driver must rush to cover more miles to make more money.
- Under the influence of alcohol or other illicit substances – For example, some truckers smoke marijuana while driving.
Any of these factors can contribute to a truck wreck that causes devastating injuries or even death.
What Are the Dangers of Driving Too Fast In a Truck?
Truck drivers traversing Pennsylvania’s inner roads and highways are mandated to drive safely. Unfortunately, many truckers are often under immense pressure to meet delivery deadlines and targets, so they bend or even break the rules.
To meet up with the deadlines and avoid being penalized, these truckers often go heavy on the accelerator. The problem with truckers speeding is that it makes the roads unsafe for residents and commuters in Pennsylvania.
The speeding also increases the chances of the truck being involved in an unavoidable wreck. Some of the dangers of excessive speeding in Pennsylvania include:
- It’s harder to stop – Trucks and tractor-trailers often need more time to stop than other vehicles do. If the truck is moving too fast, the truck driver might be unable to stop or slow down in time if the traffic conditions suddenly require it.
- The trucker is likely to lose control – A truck driver is more likely to lose control of the rig if there’s a sudden need to avoid an obstacle or hazard.
- The trucker will be unable to navigate bends – Speeding truckers are more likely to get in a crash if they come upon a sudden bend in the road.
- Loads could topple – With particularly heavy or tall loads, speeding truckers may struggle to brake suddenly. Worse still, the load could topple and spill or cause a jackknifing incident.
All of these scenarios can lead to considerable injury and fatalities for other road users. One SmartDrive survey showed that truck drivers who exceed the recommended speed limits are 45-69 percent more likely to be involved in a collision than their counterparts who drive within the speed limits.
Who is Liable in a Truck Accident Claim Caused by Excessive Speeding in PA?
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, there are almost 7,000 truck and tractor-trailer crashes in the state every year. Between 100 and 200 of these accidents result in fatalities annually.
When commercial trucks and tractor-trailers are involved in accidents with smaller vehicles, cyclists, motorcycles, and pedestrians, who is to blame? It depends on who was at fault in the accident.
In the State of Pennsylvania, anyone injured in a truck accident can file a personal injury claim against the following entities:
- The at-fault truck driver
- The trucking company that the driver works for – This applies the principle of vicarious liability under Pennsylvania state law
- Additional at-fault parties including the company responsible for the ownership, maintenance, or manufacturing of the truck itself
If negligence was a factor in your truck accident case, you’ll need to show that the truck driver’s negligence and carelessness resulted in your injuries or a loved one’s death. To do this effectively, you’ll need the help of an experienced truck accident lawyer at Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys.
Should You Take the Offer from the At-Fault Party’s Insurance Company in a Speeding Accident?
Once you file a claim against the liable party (or parties), you can expect the liable party’s insurance company to reach out to you. This is even more likely if the insurance company finds its client to be liable.
When the insurance company contacts you, it will be with an offer that may seem pretty good to you. While you might be tempted to take the offer, you shouldn’t. Why? Well, insurance companies have adjusters whose job it is to make you an offer that’s significantly lower than the amount you actually deserve.
The insurance companies often count on the combination of the pressure of your present situation, of tactics like a limited time offer, and of the absence of a lawyer to get you to accept their offer.
Insurance adjusters will often make it seem like the insurance firm is doing you a favor and that you need to take the offer before it’s withdrawn. Don’t fall for this. As experienced truck and tractor-trailer accident lawyers, we’re sure that you can always get a lot more than what the insurance companies offer you as compensation.
How Much Does an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer Cost?
Our team of expert truck accident attorneys only takes a fee if we win you a settlement. You do not owe anything before your case is settled and it costs nothing to talk to one of our attorneys.
Our truck accident lawyers do not charge a fee for our services unless we win your case. We cover all the upfront costs so that you don’t have to pay anything out of pocket. Our contingency fee (a percentage of the accident settlement or verdict we obtain for you) will never exceed the total amount paid to you.
As an award-winning local personal injury law firm highly experienced in truck accidents, Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys serves the whole of Pennsylvania and the nation as well. We represent drivers, cyclists, pedestrians, motorcycle riders, and truck drivers who have been involved in a truck accident. Our unique experience and knowledge of these case types have made us one of the nation’s leading truck accident law firms.
If you have been in an accident involving trucks, come and talk to one of our highly experienced and qualified lawyers today. Call 844-658-7840 for a free consultation find out what we can do for you.