Speeding is one of the biggest causes of commercial truck accidents. According to the FMCSA, speeding plays a role in about 23% of large truck accidents. If you have been injured in an accident caused by a speeding truck, the actions you take now can have a dramatic effect on the compensation you receive—which is why it’s important to contact an experienced truck injury accident attorney as soon as possible.
Why Do Truckers Speed?
If speeding trucks present so much danger on the roadways, why do truck drivers speed? There are a variety of reasons, but the most common include the following:
- Pressures of the job. Truckers are often paid by the mile or by the job. The more miles they fit into their schedule, the more they are paid. Sometimes, the trucking company pays a bonus to drivers who deliver ahead of schedule. These pressures often cause truckers to speed.
- Running behind. Trucking companies often place their drivers under grueling deadlines for delivery. If the trucker is running behind schedule, they may speed to make up for the lost time.
- Distracted driving. Truckers drive for long stints, often down many miles of open road. The driver’s mind may wander due to distraction or fatigue, and they might not realize how fast they are going.
How Do Speeding Truckers Cause Accidents?
Truckers who speed are more likely to be involved in an accident for several reasons. These include:
- Longer stopping times. A fully-loaded semi requires about 40% more road to come to a stop than a passenger vehicle moving at the same speed. In real numbers, a loaded semi driving at 60 mph must travel farther than the length of a football field to come to a stop. Speeding truckers often don’t have enough room to make sudden stops, increasing accident chances.
- Less time to react. The faster a vehicle travels, the less time the driver has to respond to sudden changes on the road—thus increasing their likelihood of being involved in an accident.
- Less control over the vehicle. Speeding makes it more difficult for a trucker to maneuver the truck. Making too fast of an adjustment or attempting to take a turn too quickly can cause them to lose control of the truck.
What Kinds of Injuries May Result?
With trucking accidents, it’s not just about how fast they drive—it’s also how much distance is covered in the same amount of time. A truck moving at 60 miles per hour will cover 20% more ground than one driving at 50 mph. That means that if you were hit by a speeding tractor-trailer traveling 60 mph instead of 50 mph, there would be 40% greater impact force—resulting in far worse injuries. For this reason, the sheer mass and momentum of truck-involved accidents are more likely to cause severe injuries than accidents involving two passenger vehicles.
Broken bones, severed limbs, and traumatic brain injuries are quite common in these collisions, as are internal injuries caused by the sudden impact of the truck. Serious injuries such as these can involve expensive surgeries and long recovery times. In some cases, the physical damage may be permanent and require a lifetime of care.
Recovering Damages in a Speeding Truck Accident Case
As a truck accident injury victim where the truck was at fault, you should be able to claim significant damages that include compensation for your treatment and recovery, lost wages, pain, and suffering, etc. However, liability can be challenging to prove in trucking accidents. Even if the driver was obviously speeding, the driver’s negligence may not be the only factor. If the trucker was under undue pressure from his employer—or not properly trained—the trucking company may share some liability. In some cases, the truck manufacturer may also share responsibility.
An extended investigation may be required to determine shared liability. The insurance companies for all these entities may haggle over who is responsible for what percentage of the damages. It requires a skilled truck accident attorney to deal with these variables so you receive a fair and timely settlement. The legal team at Max Meyers Law has plenty of experience helping truck accident victims in Washington to receive the full compensation to which they’re entitled. Contact our offices to schedule a free consultation.