According to Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), one in five traffic accidents on OPP-patrolled roads involves a large commercial truck. Among the 1,342 fatal motor vehicle collisions between 2012 and 2016, 266 involved transport trucks, which killed 330 people, most of whom were occupants of other vehicles.
The sheer size and weight of these large vehicles makes them extremely dangerous if they are involved in a collision with other vehicles. With decades of experience representing injury victims, our truck accident lawyers in Windsor have seen the devastation that can result from these types of accidents. We are familiar with the many causes of truck accidents and can help you determine why your accident happened and who should be held liable.
Some of the most common causes of truck accidents in Ontario include:
1. Vehicle Defect
According to the Ontario Road Safety Annual Report for 2014, vehicle defects were a factor in four per cent of all fatal large truck accidents in the province in 2014. Between July 2014 and June 2017, 344 collisions on OPP-patrolled roads involved defective transport trucks. Six of those accidents were fatal and 37 resulted in injuries.
OPP has reported an increase truck accidents caused by defective parts in recent years. According to police, damaged axles, blown tires or detached wheels, faulty brakes and defective hitches are a common cause of truck-related crashes. Other problems include unsecured loads or truck equipment that falls off a truck into the path of other vehicles.
2. Improper Truck Maintenance
Like defective parts, truck accidents are often caused by improper maintenance of the vehicle or any of its parts. When a vehicle is not properly maintained, many of its parts may not function as intended, which could be a safety hazard.
The Ontario Highway Traffic Act requires a minimum of three periodic inspections of commercial motor vehicles every year, including an annual, semi-annual and safety standard certificate inspection.
During an inspection, the following components of a vehicle must be thoroughly checked to ensure they comply with the National Safety Standard:
- Suspension hydraulic brake system
- Tires and wheels
- Electrical system
- Instruments and auxiliary equipment
- Couplers and hitches
If any of these components are not properly inspected and maintained in proper working order, there could be grave consequences.
In addition to semi-annual and annual inspections, truck drivers must also conduct a daily pre-trip inspection to ensure there are no defects or problems with the vehicle.
3. Drunk Driving
According to the Ontario Road Safety Annual Report for 2014, drunk driving was a factor in two per cent of all fatal large truck accidents in Ontario in 2014.
Impaired driving can have a significant effect on an individual’s ability to safely drive a vehicle, as it:
- Slows reaction time
- Inhibits coordination
- Reduces concentration
- Decreases vision
- Impairs judgment
Impairment from drugs can also have a similar effect on a driver. Unfortunately, because truck drivers work and drive for long hours at a time, many drivers may turn to drugs to stay awake. However, this can be just as dangerous as drinking and driving.
4. Driver Fatigue
Although truck companies want truckers to drive as much as possible to improve their bottom line, there are strict hours of service rules that limit how long a driver can be on the road without rest. This is because fatigued driving can be extremely dangerous and can have the same effects on a driver as drunk driving.
Ontario law requires that a driver:
- Must have 10 hours off-duty every day
- Cannot drive more than 13 hours in one day
- Cannot drive after 14 hours on-duty in a day
After a period of at least eight hours off-duty, a driver cannot:
- Drive more than 13 hours
- Drive after being on-duty for 14 hours
- Driver after 16 hours has passed
In a period of consecutive seven days, a driver cannot drive after having been on-duty for 70 hours. That number is extended to 120 hours for periods of 14 consecutive days.
To ensure drivers are not driving more than the law allows, they are required to maintain logbooks with daily entries that detail the driver’s schedule, the number of hours spent on-duty each day, and other details about his or her travel and vehicle.
Any violation of the hours or service regulation could allow the truck driver or his or her employer to be held liable for an accident caused by a fatigued driver.
5. Driver Error
Truck drivers, like all motorists, are required to follow the rules of the road to ensure the safety of everyone on the road. Any violation of one of these rules could lead to a serious accident, with devastating injuries that the truck driver could be held liable.
Some of the most common road violations truck drivers make include:
- Running red lights
- Improper lane change
- Distracted driving
- Following another vehicle too closely
- Failure to check blind spots
- Road rage
Contact a Trusted Windsor Truck Accident Lawyer
If you have been injured or lost a loved one in a truck accident caused by one of these scenarios, you should contact our trusted Windsor truck accident lawyers for a free, no obligation consultation. You may be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering, medical bills, and other losses you have experienced.
Our team has represented auto accident victims for decades and can investigate your accident to determine its cause and who should be liable. We will then fight to help you obtain the maximum compensation you deserve.
Because we work on contingency, you will not pay us anything unless we recover compensation for you.