According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 95,000 individuals sustained injuries in about 342,000 crashes involving large commercial trucks in 2013 alone. While truck accidents can occur at any time, there is often an increased risk of these collisions during the winter months and holiday season. The following are only a few examples of reasons why there may be a higher number of commercial truck accidents during this time.
Winter weather conditions – Snow, ice, and sleet are, unfortunately, a huge part of the winter in and around Philadelphia. Every driver should know that these types of adverse weather can cause dangerous road conditions and that they should slow down and be more careful when they get behind the wheel. Commercial truck drivers also have a duty to drive in a reasonably safe manner in winter weather conditions. However, because their vehicles are so large and heavy, they often feel they have more control than drivers of smaller, lighter passenger vehicles. Additionally, because truck drivers drive for a living, they may believe they have greater skill to maneuver their trucks in winter weather. This may result in the failure to slow down, keep a safe following distance, pass other vehicles cautiously, and other necessary behaviors to avoid crashing in winter weather.
Increased number of trucks on the roads – Many people do their holiday shopping online or have packages shipped to friends and family across the country. In additions, retail stores know that shopping increases significantly over the holidays and, therefore, increases their inventory during this time. All of this can result in a larger amount of goods being transported from place to place, requiring a greater number of commercial semi-trucks and tractor trailers on the highways. Just the increase of trucks can naturally result in an increased risks of collisions involving these trucks.
Drivers want to get home for the holidays – Just like anyone else, commercial truck drivers often cannot wait to get off work and return home to their families for holiday celebrations, gatherings, or simply for quality time. Truck drivers often spend many consecutive days away from home, so it is no surprise that they may be in a rush to get back home during this time. The sooner they finish their deliveries, the sooner they can be finished with their trip and take a few days off. This may lead to truck drivers speeding or engaging in other unsafe behaviors. Additionally, truck drivers may violate the hours of service regulations set out by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)  in order to drive longer shifts, which may result in fatigued driving or even falling asleep behind the wheel.
More traffic on the highways – In addition to more trucks on the roads, the holidays often means more traffic in general. Many people take time off work, are out and about in their vehicles, or even take road trips to see family or friends for the holidays. Many people may be driving in unfamiliar areas or on unfamiliar highways, which can lead to potentially negligent driving behaviors. Additionally, just an increased volume of traffic can make it more difficult to maneuver a large commercial truck.
When the increased number of trucks is combined with the increased number of passenger vehicles and possibly some winter weather, it should not be a surprise that there may be a higher chance of being involved in a truck accident and suffering serious injuries. Many of these accidents are caused by the negligence of truck drivers, trucking companies, or another third party.
If your winter and holiday season was marred by injuries caused in a commercial truck accident, your first call should be to The Levin Firm in Philadelphia. Victims of truck accidents caused by negligence deserve to be fully compensated for all of their losses by any negligent parties, including the truck driver or the trucking company. Truck accident cases can be complex since the trucking company will work to avoid liability at all costs, which means a significant amount of evidence is often necessary especially when fault in the collision is disputed. You need to make sure you have a truck accident lawyer on your side with the skill and resources to successfully handle this type of case. Call our office today at 215-825-5183 for a free consultation.
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