Trucking: Rollover accidents by the numbers

It seems like it should be a law of nature: just as there are many different kinds of cars and trucks on the roads, there is also an equally large number of ways to get into an accident. Semi-truck drivers, in particular, have a lot more to be worried about, since an accident could have devastating effects that are felt by more than just the driver. While most of these accidents are due to errors by the driver, some of them occur due to oversight and laziness on the part of the transportation companies.

This study from 2008 analyzes one accident in type in particular: a rollover, which occurs when a truck tips over due to centrifugal force on the vehicle. It is estimated that rollovers comprise about 9% of all accidents involving large trucks. Looking at crash data from 2001 to 2003, this would mean rollover accidents accounted for 13,000 of the total number of crashes that involved fatalities or injuries. The results of the study claim that the majority of rollovers are caused by some sort of driver error, like a driver taking a turn too fast. In fact, they found that speed was the top contributing factor to rollover accidents, being the cause of 45% of crashes studied. In contrast, for truck accidents of every type, speed is only the main factor in 23% of crashes. The second largest contributing factor to rollover accidents was inattention, mostly due to sleep deprivation. This is not surprising considering how many hours truck drivers are required to be on the road. However, there is a small percentage of accidents like this that are caused by a truck being improperly loaded and unbalanced, which causes rollover accidents more than other types. The truck is too heavy, having the load improperly secured in the back of the truck, and having the center of gravity placed too high in the truck are all causes for rollover crashes.

Because of how large a semi-truck is, it is an unfortunate fact that many accidents affect other drivers on the road. Regardless of whether the rollover was caused by an error on the part of the driver or the transportation company, there are many cases where an affected driver may need a specific truck accident lawyer to help them figure out who was responsible. Even if self-driving trucks become the norm and driver error is no longer a factor, the trucks will still have to be loaded precisely so that rollovers are prevented. It should be the transportation company’s responsibility to make sure the weight and balance of the truck are stable at every point in its journey.

There are many weigh stations along our nation’s highways, and these are very important for determining if a truck is overweight and at risk of an accident. However, making sure the load is fastened properly and that the center of gravity is low in the truck should also be a priority for these stations in order to prevent rollover accidents.

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