Wellborn Paluch, LLP Blog

Friday, January 27, 2017

Tractor-Trailer Accidents Lead to Gridlock on the NYS Thruway

What are the leading causes of truck accidents in New York?

Driving on the New York State Thruway in the winter is dangerous, made even more so by a deadly combination  of tractor trailers on the road and lake effect snows. The recent storm that hit Southern Erie County is a case in point.

Within 20 minutes late one January afternoon, there were two tractor-trailer accidents, one on Milestrip Road  (Route  179) in the Town of Hamburg, the second on the westbound side of the NYS Thruway between the Milestrip and Route 219 exits, closing all lanes. Shortly after that, a big rig became disabled on the eastbound side, and all those lanes were closed.

Traffic was diverted to local streets which led triggered other accidents, people getting stuck and gridlock. This story illustrates that sharing the road with tractor-trailers is perilous and motorists should proceed with caution when driving near or passing big rigs. While there were no reports of injuries this time, accidents involving tractor trailers and automobiles often end badly for the occupants of smaller vehicles.

What are the leading causes of truck accidents?

Because of their size and weight, trucks hard to maneuver, and take a long time to come to a stop. However, there are numerous federal and state laws regarding truck safety that are aimed at keeping drivers safe from truck accidents.

First, truckers are limited to the amount of time they are allowed to drive, and they must also take regular breaks. Nonetheless, drivers typically have tight delivery deadlines and often cover long distances and drive for hours - nonstop. Truckers are prone to fatigue and distractions, and this leads to accidents. A trucker that fails to adhere to driving limits or becomes distracted by GPS devices or cell phone apps can be held liable.

Further, improper maintenance is another leading cause of truck accidents, even though federal laws require trucking companies and truck owners to properly maintain their vehicles. Trucks must also be routinely inspected, and logs of these inspections and any repairs need to be maintained. A trucking outfit can be held liable for an accident that was due to a failure of the breaking system, faulty tires or other mechanical defect.

The Takeaway

Obviously, drivers on the Thruway should proceed with caution, and heed weather forecasts that call for heavy snow. Navigating the roads can become treacherous in the winter. At the same time, accidents involving big rigs can lead to devastating injuries. If you were injured in an accident with a tractor-trailer, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you obtain the compensation you deserve.


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