Devastating injuries, deaths, and property damage can all be the consequences when a trucker causes a deadly rollover accident. While they may not be as common as other types of crashes, the results can be more horrific. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), 3,424 people were killed and 82,000 people injured in truck crashes in 2014. Of these, rollover crashes were the cause of five percent of the fatalities and two percent of the nonfatal truck accidents.
Types of Truck Rollover Accidents
Rollover accidents occur when something causes the truck’s wheels to lose contact with the pavement, and the truck can end up on its side or even upside down. The truck’s high center of gravity, centrifugal forces that cause trucks to lean on curves, and top-heavy and sometimes unstable loads are some of the dynamics that can contribute to these crashes. Rollover crashes can be categorized as one of two types:
- Tripped. In this type of rollover, the truck leaves the roadway by sliding into something such a guardrail, curb, or the surrounding terrain.
- Untripped. Untripped rollovers happen when the centrifugal force of the truck causes it to roll. These accidents frequently occur when the trucker is speeding or taking a curve—challenging for even an experienced, attentive trucker.
6 Common Reasons Truck Rollovers Occur
Truck driver negligence is often the cause of these crashes. Main reasons these wrecks occur include:
- Speeding. Speeding can cause a trucker to lose control of the truck, especially when he is driving on a curve or an entrance or exit ramp on the highway. Speeding is a major cause of these deadly accidents.
- Trucker inattention. When a trucker is fatigued, falls asleep, texts, or talks on his cell phone, his inattention to his driving can result in a sudden lane change—and a rollover accident.
- Oversteering and change in steering. Especially when distracted, truck drivers sometimes need to make a sudden steering change to avoid a motor vehicle or another obstacle in the road. The high center of gravity and sudden steering reversal can cause the truck to roll over.
- Loads. Loads must be properly centered and secured to prevent them from shifting—and causing a rollover—especially when the truck is taking a curve.
- Weather conditions. If a truck driver does not reduce his speed for weather conditions such as rain, fog, ice, or snow, the truck’s wheels can lose traction and cause a rollover crash.
- Truck maintenance. Truckers are supposed to inspect their trucks and only drive them if there are no maintenance and repair issues. Sadly, rollover accidents can be caused by worn tires, malfunctioning brakes, and other maintenance issues.
How Motorists Are Injured in Truck Rollovers
Other motorists can become involved in a truck rollover in a number of ways. Some of these include:
- The truck could spill its contents onto the roadway, and unsuspecting motorists may not have time to get out of the way. In addition, if the truck is carrying hazardous substances, they can ignite, starting a deadly fire.
- The truck could roll over onto another motor vehicle, crushing the victims inside the passenger vehicle.
- A truck can roll over in the middle of the lane, causing motorists to crash into it, sometimes leading to an even more dangerous multi-vehicle crash.
Truck crashes can be more complicated than passenger vehicle crashes for a number of reasons. You need an experienced truck accident attorney who understands these differences and the federal regulations that govern the trucking industry that may have been violated. Call Brauns Law at (404) 998-5252 to schedule a free consultation to learn more about your legal options.