Truck Driver Errors Responsible for Many Preventable Rollover Accidents

Gabriel A. Assaad
Partner Gabriel Assaad represents victims of negligence and medical malpractice nationwide.

Rollover truck accidents are a particularly deadly type of crash. Innocent victims can suffer devastating injuries and be killed if an 80,000-pound truck rolls over onto their passenger vehicle and crushes it. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), 3,424 people died in truck accidents in 2014 and 82,000 were injured. Rollovers accounted for five percent of all deaths and two percent of all injuries. Sadly, over 78 percent of rollover crashes were caused by truck driver errors, meaning that many of these tragedies are completely preventable.

What Are the Main Causes of Rollovers?

A truck rollover is a crash where the truck rolls over onto its side or top, sometimes rolling over several times before stopping. They often happen A Commerical Truck That as Rolled Over when a trucker must swerve quickly to avoid a crash or is driving on curves. When a truck is being driven on a curve, centrifugal forces cause it to lean away from the curve. If the truck leans too far, a rollover is the consequence. Trucks with fully-loaded trailers have an especially high center of gravity and are vulnerable to rolling over as are trucks carrying liquids. Common causes of these crashes include:

  • Speeding. When a trucker is speeding, or fails to adjust his speed for curves, a rollover is the likely result. These crashes often happen on highway exit or entrance ramps as well as curves in the road.

  • Fatigue. If a trucker is tired or doses off, he can unintentionally speed or drift. This negligence or the trucker’s sudden swerving when he is jolted awake can result in the truck leaning too far. Trucker fatigue is a huge problem given the long hours truckers drive—11 permissible hours or more if they violate federal hours-of-service rules.

  • Steering. Staying in the truck’s lane and not overcorrecting are essential to preventing rollovers. Inexperienced and inattentive drivers often do not pay enough attention to this important driving rule until they learn from the terrifying experience of being in one of these crashes.

  • Loads. Proper loading is essential to preventing a rollover accident. When the load is not secured or loaded properly, it can shift. This can make a rollover more likely, especially when a trucker is making a turn. This is even more of an issue with truckers transporting liquids, because the center of gravity is higher and the liquid can move forcefully from side-to-side.

  • Distracted driving. If a trucker is talking on his cell phone or looking down while texting, he is not paying enough attention to his driving to stay in his lane, adjust his speed for an upcoming curve, or otherwise not engage in unsafe driving practices. Eating and drinking, reading a GPS, fiddling with instrument controls, and looking at work emails or documents are other unsafe distractions.

  • Defective brakes. When brakes are not maintained or repaired, they can malfunction or fail when a trucker must adjust his speed on a curve or a highway exit or entrance ramp. Even worse, the brakes could have been adjusted or disengaged to save on wear and tear and replacement costs.

  • Maintenance problems. Truckers are required to inspect their vehicles before going on a trip, at the end of each day, and at the end of their trip. When truckers negligently drive their trucks with repair or maintenance issues, a rollover could be the result.

Who Can Be Liable in a Rollover?

Depending on the cause of a rollover collision, a victim may be able to hold more than one party responsible for compensating him. This is beneficial because there is more likelihood the injured person will be fully compensated when more liable parties—and their insurance companies—are involved. Possible parties that could be liable in a rollover crash include:

  • Truck driver

  • Trucking company if its negligence contributed to the rollover—often the case in these crashes

  • Truck manufacturer or maintenance team if defects in the truck or a lack of maintenance was a contributing cause of the crash

  • Cargo loaders if the load was not loaded properly

  • Another driver if his negligent actions caused the trucker to lose control

  • Government entities if dangerous road conditions caused the truck to roll over

An experienced truck accident attorney can help you identify all the liable parties in your rollover crash case so you receive the compensation you deserve. Schedule a free case evaluation with our legal team by calling us today at 855.947.0707.