Irvine Truck Accident Attorney

With two major freeways that connect the Los Angeles area and one freeway that connects the whole state of California, Orange County plays host to thousands of tractor-trailers. The 5 and 405 have a constant flow of trucks driving on them, day and night. While this is excellent for the transportation industry, it runs the risk of more truck-related accidents happening in Orange County.

In 2013, over 3,500 people died in tractor-trailer related crashes. The majority of those were occupants of cars or other passenger vehicles. The number of deaths due to large truck crashes has been climbing; in 2013, it was up 14% from 2009.

California alone had 256 truck-related fatalities in 2013, with another 5,209 people injured –roughly 7% of deaths and injuries nationally. 

Truck Accident Causes

Driver fatigue and distracted driving are two of the major causes of tractor-trailer accidents. Operators of large trucks can only drive up to 11 consecutive hours in a 14 our window. They are required to be off duty for 10 or more consecutive hours before and after this period. Although these rules are in place for the safety of the driver and others on the road, some may not comply with them.

Many drivers run the same routes, but sometimes they can be in new and unfamiliar areas. The distraction of constantly looking at a GPS or being on the phone with a dispatcher to help with directions may cause accidents. Texting, eating, reaching around the cab, and any other diversions where both hands are not on the wheel can be deadly.

Other causes of accidents include:

  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Speeding
  • Reckless driving
  • Improperly secured cargo
  • Improper truck maintenance (brake failure and tire blowouts)

The Large Truck Crash Causation Study

FactorsNumber of TrucksPercent of TotalRelative Risk
Vehicle: Brake problems41,00029%2.7
Driver: Traveling too fast for conditions32,00023%7.7
Driver: Unfamiliar with roadway31,00022%2
Environment: Roadway problems29,00020%1.5
Driver: Over-the-counter drug use25,00017%1.3
Driver: Inadequate surveillance20,00014%9.3
Driver: Fatigue18,00013%8
Driver: Felt under work pressure from carrier16,00010%4.7
Driver: Made illegal maneuver13,0009%26.4
Driver: Inattention12,0009%17.1
Driver: External distraction11,0008%5.1
Vehicle: Tire problems8,0006%2.5
Driver: Following too close7,0005%22.6
Driver: Jackknife7,0005%4.7
Vehicle: Cargo shift6,0004%56.3
Driver: Illness4,0003%34
Driver: Internal distraction3,0002%5.8
Driver: Illegal drugs3,0002%1.8
Driver: Alcohol1,0001%5.3

Orange County Motorists Should Be Aware

Trucks sit higher and are longer and wider than cars. Due to these factors, the visibility of a truck driver is reduced. There are also several blind spots on a truck: behind the trailer, to the right of the engine, to the right and back of the cab, and on the left side at the front of the trailer. It is important for motorists to not linger in these blind spots. If a trucker has to change lanes or stop suddenly, he or she may not see you there.

Motorcyclists should be especially aware of a truck’s blind spots. Since motorcycles are much smaller than cars, truckers may not be able to see them as well. This is dangerous on the freeway where cars are traveling at high speeds and motorcyclists are allowed to pass between lanes.

It is also important for pedestrians and cyclists to pay attention to trucks. While many trucks spend their time on the freeway, they have to come on city roads for deliveries and pickups. Bikers and pedestrians are very small compared to a truck and may not be seen at all. Be careful not to ride or walk right next to, behind, or directly in front of a truck. It may not see you there.

Irvine – Mission Viejo – Costa Mesa

Truck accidents can cause injury or death to either the trucker, motorists, pedestrians, or cyclists involved. Accidents can lead to severe physical and mental pain to all parties. At the Law Offices of Mann & Elias, we encourage you to contact us if you or someone you love has been involved in a tractor-trailer collision. Whether you are a trucker or a motorist, it is important you seek legal help from a team of experienced truck collision lawyers. We can help you navigate the legal process and advise you on how to recuperate any losses you have sustained.