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Weather and Truck Accidents
Nationwide, roughly 20 percent of 18-wheeler accidents are in some way caused by bad weather. Considering the many thousands of 18-wheeler accidents that occur annually, this is still a significant number. Alabama is likely on the high end of the national average when it comes to weather-related truck accidents. This is because what we lack in average yearly snowfall we more than compensate for with other extreme weather such as tornadoes, rainfall, hail, hurricanes, and wind. Alabama is one of the few places in the world that has two yearly tornado seasons, not to mention having the most annual thunderstorms of any state in the U.S.
The main problem lies in the demands and pressures of the truck driving industry keeping many truck drivers on the road during bad weather when they should not be. Many drivers continue driving through bad weather at speeds too high for conditions. Even if the driver is not directly involved with the accident itself, a speeding semi on a wet road can spray a significant amount of water onto other vehicles on the roadway, severely limiting their visibility and causing others to wreck. Multiply this with the high rate of fatigue many truck drivers experience and it is accurate to say that 18-wheelers can be the most dangerous vehicles on the highway during a storm.
Problems with current Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations
Truck drivers are required to reduce speed and exercise “extreme caution” when driving through hazardous weather conditions. If conditions make it so the vehicle cannot be operated safely at any speed, these same regulations require truck drivers to cease operation of the vehicle until the conditions pass.
The wording of these regulations is too vague to be effective. By the time many drivers determine what conditions are too hazardous, it is too late. All licensed truck drivers are book-trained on how to adjust to bad weather. However, no truck driver receives formal hands-on training on how to drive in hazardous conditions.
If you live in the Mobile, Alabama area and have suffered injuries or other damages due to a weather-related truck accident, please contact Long & Waite, Attorneys at Law today to arrange a consultation.