Weekly in the greater Houston area a big truck rolls over and shuts down a highway for hours at a time, stranding commuters and sending many to the hospital or the morgue.
One must ask, why are there so many semi-trucks rolling over?
There are two main reasons why semi-trucks rollover – they are by nature extremely top-heavy which makes a tractor-trailer much more likely to tip over certain conditions. Additionally, driver error is a big factor in rollover accidents.
The study was undertaken by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recently that indicated about 50% of all rollover accidents involving big rigs were caused by the driver failing to slow down during curves in the road. The second major factor was driver inattention followed by improper steering input by the driver. Click here to see the report: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3256782/
The centrifugal force on a truck taking a curve cause it to lean toward the direction of the curve. Big rigs have an extremely high center of gravity and loads can be improperly secured. Many of these rollover accidents occur at speeds under this posted speed limit.
According to the study, driver error was a common factor in the vast majority of serious injury or fatal rollover truck wrecks. Truckers should be aware of their vehicles limitations and the need to reduce speed when taking off ramps or curves in the highway. A driver, particularly an inexperienced driver can easily misjudge the safe speed to exit via an off-ramp.
While loads are a factor in some rollover truck accidents, the incidence of load being a primary factor are limited and almost always accompanied by some level of driver error.
Finally, improper maintenance of the braking systems of the big rig can prevent a timely slowdown of the truck during a curve in the road or an off-ramp and lead to a rollover crash.
As with all truck accidents, a timely investigation by qualified and experienced attorneys can help determine the cause of the crash. The earlier the investigation starts the more likely the investigation will yield full and complete results.
The conclusions of the study are as follows:
- Rollovers mainly occur in curves and off ramps where a driver misjudgment of safe speed is a major cause.
- Driver inattention and distraction can lead to sudden course corrections resulting in a rollover.
- The three main controllers for big rigs are sharp turns, too little turns and overcorrection.
- 25% of truck rollovers are caused by failure to adjust speed.
- Training programs should offer video of the dangers of rollover accidents and how to prevent the same.
- Simulation should be used to help drivers understand situations leading to rollover without the adverse consequences.
At our law firm we maintain a quick response team for appropriate 18-wheeler accidents. If you or member of your family have been seriously injured in an 18-wheeler crash call us promptly and put our team on your side. Toll Free 1-866-758-4529.