When large trucks jackknife on Kentucky highways, people are put in harm's way. In most cases, though, jackknifing is a preventable situation. The first thing the truck driver should do is check his or her mirrors to monitor the frequency of the trailer swing. It's important to do this every time hard braking is required. If the trailer is heading toward a jackknife during a hard brake, the recommended course is to let off the brake to regain static friction. Increasing speed may also be required to bring the trailer back into position.
Collisions between big rigs and passenger vehicles are all too common in Kentucky, and there are several reasons why they can occur. The No. 1 cause is driver error. Truckers, like anyone else, can engage in unsafe behavior like drowsy or drunk driving. However, it should be noted that 81% of truck crashes due to driver error are the fault of passenger vehicle drivers.
Many may see the massive semi-trucks traveling on roads in and around Covington and wonder exactly how much skill is required to operate such vehicles. Indeed, truck drivers are well-trained, and hours and hours of experience behind the wheel helps them understand exactly what their vehicles are (and are not) capable of. Yet part of their training (or their experience) should teach them the importance of remaining attentive behind the wheel. Distracted driving can easily cause one to lose control of a standard car, truck or SUV. One can only imagine how dangerous a distracted truck driver can be.
One of the first exclamations we here at the Russell & Ireland Law Group PLLC hear from those who have been involved in truck accidents in their disbelief that a trucker would do something as negligent as speed. Said clients are often surprised when it is pointed out that while such a decision may indeed be due to a truck driver’s own impatience, in many others they may feel pressured into doing so. You likely face similar pressure to meet deadlines and cater to customer demands in your own workplace; the obvious difference is that you caving to such pressure might be unlikely to endanger lives.
Commercial trucking is a vital component of America's economy, and the drivers directing the semi-trucks and tractor-trailers you see on Covington's roads are typically well-trained. Yet that does not mean that these massive vehicles pose no risks to the vehicles around them (indeed, according to data shared by The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there were 116,000 crashes involving large trucks and buses in 2017 alone). Truck accidents can often be catastrophic, leaving victims to have to deal with enormous expenses. The question then becomes who is liable for such accidents?
Kentucky residents have reason to be concerned about their safety when sharing the road with semi-trucks and other large commercial vehicles. Business Insider reports that in 2016 alone, buses and large trucks were involved in 4,400 fatal accidents in the United States. These accidents involved a variety of contributing factors, of which trucker fatigue may well be one.
Despite your best efforts to avoid driving while drowsy, you likely understand what it is like to feel fatigued while behind the wheel. When you do, you typically can pull off the road to rest and recover. Yet what happens when those whose job it is to drive (such as truckers) begin to tire? The need to complete their routes may prompt them to try and power through their fatigue. The danger in this is that they drowsiness can inhibit their reaction times, making them a risk to you and others on the road.
Construction areas, gravel or debris-covered roads and slick asphalt are common across Kentucky, from major thoroughfares to winding country roads. At Russell & Ireland Law Group, LLC, we often represent clients injured in a crash with a commercial or eighteen-wheeler.