All lanes of Interstate 95 in Hanover, Va. were closed early Thursday morning, caused by the crash of two tractor trailers. According to Virginia State Police, at approximately 4 a.m., an 18-wheel tractor trailer transporting aluminum slowed down as it approached a work zone. This is when the second tractor trailer, which was transporting lumber, slammed into the back of the first truck. The impact of that crash was so hard that the cab of the truck carrying lumber was disconnected from the truck and was left completely mangled on the road. Two people were taken to the hospital with injuries, however, police have not released any details regarding their condition or the extent of those injuries.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that there are approximately 350,000 tractor trailer crashes in this country each year. These truck accidents kill almost 4,000 people and leave another 95,000 injured. Despite efforts to decrease these number, every year the question remains: Why are there so many tractor trailer accidents?
One of the most common causes of truck accidents today is speeding. Tractor trailer drivers often feel pressured to ignore posted speed limits because of the almost unattainable expectations and schedules that trucking companies have for these drivers to make their deliveries and/or pickups. The enormous size and weight of these vehicles means that more time is required to slow down or stop completely, so a speeding tractor trailer can be as deadly as a speeding bullet.
The unrealistic schedules that trucking companies come up with also contribute to high rates of drowsy and fatigued tractor trailer drivers on the roadways. The push to get to their destination means that not only may they feel pressured to drive faster than is safe, they also take shorter and not as many breaks from driving. This pressure on drivers, and the resulting exhaustion, often leads truck drivers to resort to both prescription and non-prescription drug use and abuse. The use of these medications is also a high contributor to tractor trailer accidents.
Another common cause of truck accidents is mechanical failure. Due to the number of miles these large vehicles travel, there is a lot of wear and tear. This is why it is so critical for trucking companies and truck owners to constantly inspect these vehicles to ensure the mechanics are all in good shape and proper working order. Three of the most frequent type of mechanical failures that contribute to truck accidents are brake, steering, and transmission failures.
Because of their size and weight, the injuries sustained from a tractor trailer accident are often much more severe than accidents that happen with smaller vehicles. Victims who are injured in truck accidents should contact a skilled Virginia truck accident attorney to find out what legal recourse they may have against both the truck driver and trucking company for the pain and losses they have suffered.