As mentioned here on several previous occasions, the causes of commercial trucking accidents are numerous and varied. According to a 2002 study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), almost 5,000 people died in fatal trucking accidents across the U.S. In all, about 130,000 people were injured in trucking-related collisions on public roads. This is an amazing statistic, if only because commercial vehicle accidents account for just three percent of injury-related traffic wrecks.
What this shows is that of all motor vehicle collisions, those crashes that involve an 18-wheeler or commercial delivery truck typically result in some of the most serious injuries of any motor vehicle accident. The size and weight disparity between tractor-trailer rigs and everyday passenger cars and minivans is enormous, not to mention when a motorcycle is involved in an accident with a truck. That is why victims of these kinds of trucking-related traffic crashes face potentially serious challenges, such as prolonged recovery times and possible permanent disability due to head and spinal cord injuries.
Some of the more common causes for heavy truck accidents include driver error, mechanical failures, poor driving conditions, bad road design and traffic signal failures. There is also a preponderance of truck accidents stemming from brake system or tire failures. For example, some truckers or fleet owners will depower a truck’s front brakes to reduce brake wear and save on cost. This kind of illegal modification can cause a semi tractor-trailer rig to jackknife during emergency braking and result in loss of control. Should a driver also improperly hitch the tractor-trailer combination, this risk of a jackknife situation is made worse.
Although the reasons were not yet known at the time of the news article mentioned below, police were carrying out an investigation into why a single-vehicle commercial truck accident occurred one Thursday morning in Harford County. Based on police reports, 56-year-old Thomas Wingrove was operating his 2003 Freightliner tractor-trailer rig southbound along a stretch of Rte 1 just south of Vale Rd. when he apparently lost control of the truck, which then crossed all northbound traffic lanes.
The 18-wheeler then traveled off the roadway and into an adjacent wooded area, according to Maryland State Police. A resident of Lansdowne, MD, Wingrove reportedly sustained multiple injuries during the accident and was transported by helicopter to Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. At the time of the news article he was listed in stable condition and police were conducting an investigation.
Man flown out after accident on bypass, ExploreHarford.com, February 4, 2011