Self-driving cars have been in the headlines for the past few years as companies have begun testing autonomous vehicles. A self-driving vehicle uses sensors, radar, cameras, and GPS systems to navigate the road and other vehicles, pedestrians, and bicycles around them. Now, those same self-driving car companies are expanding their reach with self-driving trucks. What will this mean for the future of autonomous vehicles and for the safety of everyone else who shares the road?
Right now, as companies like Waymo and Tesla are testing their machines, human drivers sit in the cab as a backup, in case the software malfunctions. But the goal is to put trucks on the road that can change lanes and speed up or slow down without a human operator. Since Google first started testing its driverless trucks in 2011, there have been 20 accidents involving their vehicles. Of those 20 accidents, the self-driving truck was at fault for only one of them.
Will Autonomous Technology Save Lives?
According to the National Safety Council, 38,800 people in the United States lost their lives in car accidents in 2019. The National Highway Traffic Safety Commission reported that 4,678 people died in accidents involving large trucks in 2019. Companies developing self-driving vehicles say that their autonomous technology could help save lives. One such company, Embark, said cutting the driver out of the equation will also cut out human errors such as driver fatigue and distracted driving.
Additionally, trucking companies are seeing a shortage of drivers. There is currently a shortage of about 100,000 truck drivers in America, according to the American Transportation Research Institute. As more current drivers retire over the next several years, this number will only increase.
However, there are still plenty of safety concerns when it comes to driverless vehicles sharing the roads with other drivers. In general, Americans do not trust self-driving cars. Nearly 50% of people surveyed by Partners for Automated Vehicle Education (PAVE) said they “would never get in a taxi or ride-sharing vehicle that was self-driving.” There has not been enough testing done yet to convince drivers that automated vehicles are safer than human-operated vehicles.
Moreover, it is generally accepted that semi-trucks are naturally more difficult to operate because of their length and immense weight. If people are wary of human truck drivers on the highway, it may be a long time before we trust a computer to do the job.
Contact a New York City Truck Accident Attorney
If you were injured in an accident involving a self-driving vehicle, contact the New York City truck accident attorneys at Hach & Rose, LLP. Our experienced team will navigate the complex legal process that follows an accident of this nature so you can focus on healing. Call us today at (212) 779-0057.
Because of the sheer weight and size of commercial vehicles, any collision they are involved in has the potential to become catastrophic. According to a 2017 report from the United States Department of Transportation (DOT), researchers found that approximately 107 thousand large trucks were involved in injury-causing accidents. Alarmingly, there were almost 5 thousand large trucks and buses involved in fatal vehicle collisions.
One of the most common types of trucking accidents is called a “jackknife” accident, which occurs when a truck made of two components — a trailer and a cab — folds in on itself in a “V” shape. In a report from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), researchers estimated that each year, around 2 thousand injury-causing collisions can be attributed to jackknife accidents. Annually, these accidents result in approximately 200 fatalities on the road.
What exactly is the cause of jackknife accidents? There can be several reasons for this type of trucking accident to occur, including:
- Improper brake maintenance or adjustment – breaking hard can cause a commercial vehicle’s axles to lock up if the braking system isn’t functioning properly. While the cab is dragging the trailer along with locked axles, the trailer can veer off to the side — and the two components can fold in on themselves.
- Driving too fast – because commercial vehicles can weigh up to 80 thousand pounds with a full cargo trailer, sudden braking at night speeds can prove to be too much. In these cases, the cab will stop, but the trailer will keep moving forward.
- Road conditions – icy, wet, or slippery road conditions can reduce the amount of traction that a vehicle’s tires have on the road. If a driver loses control of the vehicle, the risk of a jackknife accident occurring is significantly increased. This accident risk is also high when a driver maneuvers around tight turns and roadway curves.
- Driver inexperience – learning how to properly operate a commercial vehicle takes many hours of training and practice. If inexperienced truck drivers are placed in high-risk situations, they may not know how to react to prevent an accident from occurring.
Contact a New York Trucking Accident Attorney
Jackknife accidents can be extremely devastating because of the type and the size of vehicles they involve. If you or someone you love has suffered from the physical, emotional, and financial impact of a trucking accident because of a negligent, reckless, or inexperienced driver, you have the right to seek financial compensation. At Hach & Rose, LLP, our team of seasoned New York trucking accident attorneys will conduct a thorough investigation to build the strongest possible case for you. Contact us today at (212) 779-0057 to discuss your rights and legal options.
While commercial truck accidents are statistically less frequent than average passenger vehicle collisions, these types of wrecks can be much more devastating to those involved. According to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), semi-trucks with attached trailers, such as big rigs or box trucks, can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds. Because of their sheer weight and size, commercial vehicles can often cause serious injuries, or even fatalities, during a collision.
Additionally, legal action can be much more challenging to pursue in the event of these collisions. Unlike typical accidents between personally-owned vehicles, liable parties are not limited to just truck drivers. In fact, several other parties may be held responsible, including the truck driver’s employer. However, commercial truck companies are often well-equipped with experienced legal teams to aid the company in avoiding as much accountability as possible.
Because of these factors, seeking legal action can be overwhelmingly complex for the average person to navigate —especially after a devastating collision. If you or a loved one has suffered from a serious car wreck with a commercial vehicle, know that it is extremely important to contact an attorney as soon as possible. Key evidence in revealing the cause of the accident is easiest to collect just after the collision occurs. This evidence may be crucial in building a case to get the compensation you deserve.
Who Can Be Held Responsible?
Liability may not be limited to just the truck’s driver in cases of commercial truck wrecks. In many cases, there is an entire network of parties who can be held responsible, including:
- The owner of the trailer or truck
- The leasing party that rented trailer or truck out from the owner
- If there was a malfunction with a specific vehicle part, the party that was responsible for manufacturing the malfunctioning part
- If the cargo was improperly loaded, the party that was responsible for loading the truck’s cargo
Contact a New York Truck Accident Lawyer
At Hach & Rose, LLP, our skilled attorneys have a notable track record of successful results, including earning $13.5 million in settlements for a man injured tractor-trailer and a $2.3 million verdict for a pedestrian struck by New York City Transit Authority Bus. Contact our New York truck accident attorneys by calling (212) 779-0057 today to discuss your case with an experienced member of our legal team.
Improper Truck Maintenance
New York ranked among the ten states with the highest average of fatal truck crashes from 2014-2106, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA). While trucking accidents can happen for a wide variety of reasons, one of the most concerning for others on the road is improper maintenance.
Truck drivers, trucking companies, and the third-party maintenance companies they hire all have a responsibility to ensure that these large, heavy vehicles and their systems are in proper working order before allowing them to hit the road.
A simple inspection is often the difference between a safe trip and a severe injury or fatal tractor-trailer accident. Some of the most common causes of accidents caused by improper maintenance include:
- Brake failure
- Tire blowouts
- Headlight failures and broken taillights
- Defective fifth-wheel couplings
- Faulty mirrors
- Steering malfunction
- Lack of reflective tape
Trucking companies are required by FMCSA regulations (Section 396.3 – Inspection, Repairs, and Maintenance) to:
“Inspect, repair, maintain, and keep suitable records for all vehicles subject to its control for30 consecutive days or more, or cause another party to perform such activities. The motor carrier is solely responsible for ensuring that the vehicles under its control are in safe operating condition and that defects have been corrected.”
Trucking companies are required to put their fleet through systematic inspections and maintenance schedules, but the FMCSA does not specify which intervals they need to follow since they are usually fleet-specific and oftentimes vehicle-specific. The regulations clearly state that trucking companies must perform this work routinely and regularly, and if they fail to do so, they could be held accountable for crashes caused by improper maintenance.
Contact a New York Truck Accident Lawyer
If you or someone close to you suffered severe injuries in a truck accident that was caused by failure to inspect or maintain the vehicle, you could be owed significant compensation. The trucking company, third party maintenance company, or another entity could be liable or share liability for the crash and the harm you’ve suffered as a result.
When someone’s negligence causes you harm, Hach & Rose, LLP will be there to help. Let our team of experienced New York truck accident attorneys get you the answers, compensation, and justice that you deserve. We have extensive experience handling these types of cases, so contact us to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation right away. You can reach us any time, day or night, when you call (212) 779-0057, fill out a contact form, or chat with us live.
Truck Driver Negligence
The injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident can be devastating. Because trucks are so massive, the accidents can be even worse. Often, these collisions are caused by negligence on the part of a truck driver. If you or a loved one has sustained injuries because of a collision caused by the negligent acts of a commercial truck driver, you deserve to know your rights. You may be entitled to payment for the vast amount of expenses and suffering you have endured because of the accident.
Common Causes of Truck Driver Negligence
Truck drivers can be negligent in a wide variety of ways. Some of the more common negligent acts of truck drivers include the following:
- Negligent traffic maneuvers: Truck drivers might change lanes without first properly checking to see if the lane is clear. Additionally, a truck driver may fail to observe and obey traffic control devices. Moreover, a truck driver may fail to give the right of way to oncoming traffic, or a truck driver could make an improper turn.
- Truck driver fatigue: truck drivers may be negligent if they operate their vehicles while excessively tired or fatigued. In fact, the law sets the maximum number of hours that truck drivers can operate their vehicles without rest. If a negligent truck driver fails to follow these regulations, not only will he be accountable for his negligence, but the trucking company may be negligent for entrusting the fatigued driver. In addition, the trucking company could be responsible for failing to train the negligent driver.
- Negligent disregard: Despite operating a massive 18-wheeler, sometimes truck drivers simply do not pay attention to the roadway in front of them. This situation is more common when construction, maintenance, or accidents further down the roadway have caused traffic to back up. If a truck driver fails to pay attention to traffic in front of him, he may cause a devastating rear-end collisions where his tractor-trailer slams into the rear of a small passenger vehicle. The inhabitants of the passenger vehicle are often hopeless in these situations. These collisions are severe and often lead to catastrophic injuries.
- Intoxicated driving: Driving under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, prescription medication, or over-the-counter drugs can impair a driver’s coordination and judgment and could lead to a devastating accident. When it comes to alcohol, the legal limit for civilian drivers is .08% blood alcohol concentration (BAC), but for commercial drivers, the limit is lowered to .04% BAC.
Truck drivers have a responsibility to inspect their vehicles before driving and to operate them with care and caution on the road. If they are negligent in any way and cause a severe injury crash, those who’ve been hurt have a right to seek full and fair compensation for the harm they’ve suffered.
Contact a New York Truck Driver Negligence Lawyer
Were you hurt in a truck accident caused by a driver’s carelessness or recklessness? If so, be sure to contact an experienced New York trucking accident attorney of Hach & Rose, LLP right away. We will investigate the crash, gather vital evidence, and seek compensation for you and your loved ones. We will be ready to speak to you during a confidential consultation, so call us at (212) 779-0057, fill out a contact form, or chat with us live.
Town of Montgomery, NY (July 4, 2019) – One person was taken to hospital after a collision between a motor vehicle and a tractor-trailer that took place on I-84 Wednesday afternoon, July 3rd. Police stated that the crash happened around 12:00 p.m. near mile marker 27.3, approximately a mile and a half before Exit 5 in the town of Montgomery.
Brooklyn, NY (July 1, 2019) – A 29-year-old woman was reported to have been riding a bicycle when she was fatally hit by a cement truck in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. The tragic accident was stated to have happened around 12:00 p.m. at the intersection of Boerum Street and Bushwick Avenue.
Greenburgh, NY (June 27, 2019) – A collision between an SUV and a large truck happened on Wednesday night, June 26th, and resulted in serious injuries, according to police. Authorities stated that the accident occurred along Interstate 87 in the town of Greenburgh around 8:30 p.m.
White Plains, NY (June 24, 2019) – A crash between a car and a tractor-trailer resulted in injuries as it snarled traffic along Interstate 287 on Monday morning, June 24th. The collision took place underneath the Westchester Avenue overpass, by Exit 7, around 4:15 a.m.
Chelsea, Manhattan, NY (June 24, 2019) – A woman working as a bike messenger was tragically struck and killed by a delivery truck on Monday morning, June 24th. The fatal incident was reported to have happened along Sixth Avenue, between West 23rd and 24th Streets, in the Chelsea section of Manhattan around 9:00 a.m.
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