Due to their size and weight, commercial trucks can cause devastating accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, crashes involving large trucks killed 3,903 people and injured 111,000 in 2014. Many of these collisions left victims with catastrophic injuries or long-term impairments.
If you were injured by a negligent trucker in Alabama, call Morris Bart & Associates, LLC in Montgomery. We also represent truck crash victims in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas. Our personal injury lawyers can help you pursue compensation for health-care expenses, time off work, and other damages. We will manage your case from beginning to end, whether that requires us to file an insurance claim, take the case to a jury trial, or take other steps.
Call to schedule a free initial consultation. Until then, read on to learn how truckers can improve their response time and evasive action:
What Is “Inadequate Evasive Action?”
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), inadequate evasive action refers to a situation in which a driver does not execute an evasive maneuver effectively, and this causes an accident. Evasive maneuvers require the appropriate steering and braking. This is something that drivers learn in their training to get their commercial driver’s license (CDL).
According to the FMCSA, a 2005 study found that 14 percent of safety-critical events occurred when truckers failed to execute adequate evasive action. Drivers who do not slow down when approaching backed-up traffic or who react inappropriately to hazards on the road are guilty of inadequate evasive action.
Evasive action, at its most basic, is any maneuver used to try to avoid a collision or hazard. It is vital to know how to handle a large truck and trailer when you need to dodge something in the roadway, stop quickly, avoid another accident that already occurred, or otherwise take quick action. When the driver does not act quickly enough, does not handle the truck properly, or does not act at all, “inadequate evasive action” has occurred.
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Tips to Improve Your Evasive Action
The FMCSA reminds truckers to focus their attention 15 seconds ahead when driving on the interstate. Also, they should observe other vehicles’ brake lights, so they immediately know when traffic is slowing. Avoiding all visual and mental distractions is a vital part of this process. Even taking their eyes or mind off the road for 15 seconds can allow a crash to occur without them ever seeing the hazard.
It takes just a fraction of a second for your brain to send a signal to your foot to hit the brake, but in that time, you could travel 60 feet. By looking ahead and observing brake lights and any other hazards in front of you, you will be more likely to stop in time to avoid a rear-end collision or other accidents.
Truckers can also avoid accidents by scanning the road for potential hazards. Every commercial driver should undergo training to anticipate hazards and respond appropriately. Some, such as those that haul liquids or flammable materials, may require additional training. As the FMCSA explains, knowing potential dangers before they arise will make you better prepared to execute appropriate evasive actions.
Other Tips to Help Commercial Truckers Avoid Accidents
Although there are countless safety measures a trucker can take to avoid a collision, these tips are particularly effective for preventing most types of accidents:
- Reduce your speed and extend your following distance in poor weather conditions
- Keep up with routine maintenance
- Survey surrounding traffic every 15 seconds, so you know if vehicles are in your blind spots
- Double-check any blind spots before changing lanes, merging, or turning
- Reduce your speed when approaching curves in the road, on-ramps, and off-ramps
- Make sure your tires have adequate tread and pressure
- Wear your seatbelt whenever the vehicle is in motion
- Slow down when the roads are wet or ice is possible
- Turn on your headlights when driving at dusk or dawn, at night, or in adverse weather
What Rights do I Have If a Trucker Caused My Injuries by Inadequate Evasive Action?
Most states allow accident victims to build a case against those who caused the crash and hold them responsible for their physical, emotional, and financial damages, at least under some circumstances. This includes the four states we serve in the Gulf South.
At the same time, you can also hold a commercial driver’s employer vicariously liable in a crash involving a tractor-trailer truck or another company or work vehicle. This is possible via statute or case law in most areas nationwide. Trucking companies and other corporations may have large liability policies to pay out in these cases, and you may be able to recover compensation from them.
However, it can be intimidating and frustrating—not to mention ineffective—for an individual to try to take on a huge corporation on their own. Truck accident claims can be complex, and you may have to face a team of corporate attorneys. Working with a personal injury law firm familiar with these crashes can make it much easier on you and allow you to focus on healing.
Speak to a Truck Accident Lawyer from Morris Bart & Associates, LLC
If you were injured in a truck crash in Alabama due to another driver’s negligence, contact a Montgomery personal injury attorney from Morris Bart & Associates, LLC. We also have offices in other areas of Alabama and serve all parts of Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi, as well. We provide free consultations for accident victims in our service area. You can learn more about your rights and legal options.
Call to schedule a free consultation with one of our personal injury lawyers. We know how to prove truck collision cases and recover compensation for our clients.
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