Throughout the United States, trucks remain the most common way to transport goods across cities, states and even the entire country. While we may be able to communicate with someone halfway across the world via video chat technology, or store an entire office worth of files on something as small as a credit card, we have yet to come up with a better way to move merchandise from one place to another.
As a result, estimates indicate that there are over half a million trucking companies in the United States and more than 3.5 million trucks. Collectively, truckers log over 400 billion miles annually on the nation’s roads. It is virtually impossible to spend more than a few minutes driving without seeing at least one truck. We depend on these roadway giants — known as semi-trucks, tractor-trailers or 18-wheelers — to bring us everything from cars to furniture to groceries. But these big rigs are also among the biggest risks we encounter on our roadways.
According to statistics compiled by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, large trucks are involved in more than 4,000 fatal accidents annually. During a 10-year time span studied by the FMCSA, 85 percent of the deaths and 80 percent of the injuries in truck accidents were to someone other than the driver of the truck. Most of us, however, don’t need statistics to tell us that being involved in an accident with a truck is almost surely likely to result in serious, if not fatal, injuries.
Anyone who drives a commercial vehicle is required to complete training courses and obtain a commercial driver’s license, or CDL, before being allowed behind the wheel. Even driving a relatively small, local truck requires a CDL. Drivers who operate exceptionally dangerous trucks, such as the double trailers allowed in Washington State, require additional certification. Likewise, a truck driver who carries dangerous cargo such as hazardous materials must qualify for additional endorsements.
All truck drivers must adhere to strict laws regarding the amount of consecutive, as well as cumulative, time they can be behind the wheel. Most truck companies and truck drivers go to great lengths to remain in compliance with these laws; however, there are always exceptions to the rule. The push to move more cargo and earn more money can lead to accidents. Driver distraction or fatigue can also be the cause of a serious truck-related accident.
Regardless of the reason, the victim of a truck-driving accident can suffer serious, life-altering, or fatal injuries as a result.
If you have been injured in a Washington State semi-truck collision, or have lost a loved one in a tractor-trailer accident, you may be entitled to compensation for those injuries. To schedule a consultation, please contact the truck accident attorneys of the Mariano Morales Law Firm at (509) 972-0493 or use our online contact form.