Pennsylvania currently ranks 8th on the list of states with the highest number of fatal crashes involving large commercial trucks each year. A big rig accident can be catastrophic—and is in many cases completely preventable. Every year, thousands of individuals are injured in tractor-trailer accidents resulting from the negligent actions of a trucking company, truck parts manufacturer, cargo loader, truck driver, or other party. As Lewisburg truck accident lawyers at Stapp Law, LLC, we commit our practice to representing victims of trucking negligence in PA. With every case we take, we aim to make the roads of our city and state safer for all of us.
Residents of Lewisburg are well aware of the dangers semi-trucks pose to drivers and pedestrians. Smaller cars, trucks, SUVs, bicycles, and motorcycles in our area have to navigate two major trucking routes—U.S. Route 15 and PA Route 45—that cut through Lewisburg. It is even more concerning that these truck-heavy highways pass directly through the areas of high pedestrian traffic surrounding Bucknell University and the shops along Market Street.
Commercial truck companies provide a valuable service to our nation. Truck owners and operators need to recognize the immense responsibility of using these 40-ton machines safely. At Stapp Law, LLC, we focus on representing victims of commercial truck accidents in Lewisburg, PA. Individuals and families involved in big rig collisions have the legal right to pursue compensation for the losses suffered through another party’s negligence. To schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with a qualified Lewisburg truck accident attorney, contact the office of Stapp Law, LLC.
Where Do Most Truck Accidents Happen in Pennsylvania?
Across the United States, about 57% of all fatal crashes involving large trucks occur in rural areas. Our state experienced almost 7,000 large truck accidents last year alone. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) tracks the incidence of semi-truck collisions in our state. Based on the most recent research findings, the majority of truck-involved accidents occur on Pennsylvania state highways. The following is a breakdown of accident frequency based on road type:
- PA state highways/ non-interstate highways (55%)
- Interstate highways (28.1%)
- PA turnpikes (6.5%)
- Local roads (10.4%)
Although Union County is home to only .4% of the population of Pennsylvania, our county was the site of twice that percentage for vehicle fatalities—about .8% of all PA car crash deaths over the past three years. Drivers of 18-wheelers and passenger vehicles alike need to be equally conscientious when it comes to highway safety in Union County. Tractor-trailers share the road not only with other cars, but with Amish buggies, college students on foot, groups of cross-country runners, and cyclists enjoying the scenic views of our area. At Stapp Law, LLC, we prioritize traffic safety and work hard to bring awareness to this important issue.
What Causes Large Truck Accidents?
According to statewide PennDOT statistics, vehicle failure was the most common primary factor in tractor-trailer collisions in Pennsylvania in recent years. While these mechanical or equipment failures are listed as primary factors, in many cases there are additional factors that contribute to a collision’s cause. The most common vehicle defects contributing to truck accidents include:
- Tire or wheel issues
- Brake failure
- Overloaded vehicles
- Inadequately-secured trailers
- Powertrain system failure
- Steering system failure
- Improper towing or hitching
- Suspension issues
- Problems with vehicle lights
- Windshield wiper defects
Mechanical failures like the ones listed above can almost always be prevented through proper vehicle maintenance. When trucking companies have inadequate vehicle care and inspection policies, or are lax in practicing necessary vehicle upkeep efforts, the consequences can be deadly. Even a simple act of maintenance like changing defective windshield wipers can be the difference between safe travel and a fatal collision.
In other cases, a company may be diligent in maintenance practices, yet a cheaply-manufactured vehicle part may break on the road and lead to a collision. In other cases, a company may pressure its drivers to remain behind the wheel for unsafe lengths of time. Truck drivers are allowed by federal law to drive up to 11 consecutive hours, but studies have indicated that many truck drivers give in to the demands of their employers and regularly break this rule.
There is no shortage of factors that can lead to an accident involving a large commercial truck. An experienced truck accident lawyer will be able to examine a situation closely to determine how an accident was caused. In addition to vehicle defects, other factors known to contribute to 18-wheeler crashes include:
- Reckless or aggressive driving
- Speeding or driving too fast for conditions
- Following too closely
- Miscalculating turns, curves, and inclines
- Disregard of traffic laws, such as illegal turning
- Poor visibility in adverse weather conditions
- Driver fatigue
- Road debris
- Falling asleep at the wheel
- Driver substance abuse
- Poorly-maintained roadways
- Actions of other drivers on the road
- Inadequate driver training
The contributing factors in an 18-wheeler accident are not always easy to identify. There may be one or multiple elements at work in a commercial truck crash. Determining the cause of a collision is a necessary step in establishing liability and holding the at-fault party accountable for damages sustained by injured victims. Working with a Lewisburg truck accident lawyer from Stapp Law, LLC, you can be assured that every angle of your truck accident case will be thoroughly evaluated to prove liability and protect you from the financial burden of another party’s negligence.
How Are Truck Accidents Different from Other Vehicle Crashes?
In 2020, less than 2% of PA collision fatalities were the occupants of large trucks. When a tractor-trailer collides with a smaller passenger vehicle, it is almost always the drivers and passengers of the smaller cars who are injured or killed in the accident. Due to their size, weight, and high center of gravity, semi-trucks are susceptible to being involved in override and underride accidents, jackknife accidents, and rollovers.
Because there are so many factors involved in a truck collision, not every personal injury lawyer takes on this complicated type of auto accident case. Practicing truck accident law demands knowledge of a wide range of state and federal trucking regulations as defined by agencies like the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), in addition to an ability to gather the evidence necessary to prove liability and accurately calculate your damages.
At Stapp Law, LLC, when we decide to represent you in your truck accident case, we dedicate our time and expertise to making sure your case has the best possible outcome. We will examine elements such as driver’s logbooks, drug and alcohol test results, truck black box and GPS data, truck maintenance records, dashcam footage, driver background and past violations, and any other detail necessary to help prove your case.
If you have questions, please reach out to our law firm to set up a free conversation about how we may be able to help you. Residents of Lewisburg and the surrounding areas are invited to contact our office to speak with an experienced Pennsylvania truck accident lawyer.