Dump trucks represent a heightened risk of injury and death compared to passenger vehicles. A typical dump truck weights several times the average passenger vehicle. In fact, a loaded dump truck can weigh over 65,000 pounds and can create catastrophic consequences when involved in a collision.
Weight is not the only factor that makes dump trucks especially dangerous. Dump trucks are designed to have added ground clearance and a relatively high center of gravity. This makes the trucks much more susceptible to overturning while making turns. The combination of heavy weight and a relatively high center of gravity makes dump trucks inherently harder to stop or maneuver. Considering this, precautions are necessary to maintain safety.
Both individual state and federal laws impose requirements on commercial drivers. When applying for a commercial driver’s licenses, applicants must have a clean driving record and pass medical, written, and practical driving tests. The Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act of 1999 requires a commercial driver’s license holder to be disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle when convicted of major violations, such as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The holder can also be disqualified for serious traffic violations, such as making erratic lane changes or driving recklessly.
Despite efforts to minimize risks posed by dump trucks, serious accidents often happen. Some of the more common causes include negligent acts by the driver, such as:
Sometimes, the hazard is created by the truck owner, such as if a truck is not properly maintained. Failure to properly maintain the brakes, steering, and tire traction and pressure is especially risky and invites serious accidents to take place. Unfortunately, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, serious dump truck accidents are on the rise. In 2016, 8,206 dump trucks needed to be towed from an accident. This was an increase of nearly 10 percent from the year prior. In that same year, 5,483 accidents involving injuries were recorded, representing an increase of 2.7 percent from the year prior.
Victims of dump truck accidents may need to file a personal injury lawsuit to receive full compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other crash-related damages. If a victim is killed in a dump truck accident, the surviving family will need to file a wrongful death claim to be compensated for their losses.
If you were seriously injured in a dump truck accident, contact an experienced Wilmington truck accident lawyer at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Call us at 302-656-5445 or complete an online form for a free consultation. Located in Wilmington and Georgetown, Delaware, we serve clients throughout the state, including Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.