Potholes, cracks and road irregularities pose unique problems for trucks. Due to the fact that trucks have altered centers of gravity, these road irregularities can cause the vehicles to behave differently. While trucks hardly make up the majority of vehicles on the road, they contribute to a significant percentage of the traffic accidents that take place every year. The state of Mississippi is also affected by these accidents. Mississippi’s intentional and unintentional injury rate far exceeds the national average, according to the Mississippi Department of Public Health.
WDAM 7 reports that many Mississippi roads are riddled with potholes. Drivers have complained that they either need to drive very slowly over the dangerous roads or that the potholes are so large that they have to slam suddenly on the brakes. Some drivers have complained that the potholes have led to burst tires. For a truck, blown tires can lead to accidents and can add to the hazardous debris on the roadway.
While some pothole-related accidents are unavoidable, speeding, and sudden stops can make a dangerous situation worse. Trucks that swerve or stop suddenly can crash into other vehicles, resulting in injuries or deaths. When trucks hit passenger cars, the results are often devastating. While victims have the right to seek the advice of a truck accident lawyer such as Stevens & Ward in Mississippi to help them pay medical bills and recover lost wages, no amount of money can heal the immense pain and suffering that these accidents cause victims and families.
One company wants to change this narrative of tragedy. A company in Panama has released a device that is being called the “tweeting pothole.” The small device can be inserted into a pothole and when vehicles drive over the pothole, the device tweets a message to the Department of Public Works informing the agency that the road requires repairs. Fortune Magazine reports that as many as one in four roads in the U.S. are rated “poor” or “substandard.” As many as 67,000 bridges are closed, partially closed, or subject to restrictions. Fortune reports that while potholes and road irregularities affect all vehicles, the trucking industry suffers the most. The irregularities reduce fuel efficiency and also make trucks more prone to accidents. The tweeting pothole may be able to help drivers prevent accidents by alerting them to upcoming road hazards. The hope is also that agencies will take notice and fix the problem. However, due to budget limitations, it’s not likely that all the potholes will be filled any time soon.
Road irregularities exacerbate the problem of human error on America’s highways. For instance, a truck driver who is already tired, may respond even more poorly to a pothole, thus resulting in a more severe accident. A truck that is already overloaded, may have more difficulties negotiating road irregularities.
According to research performed by SAE International, heavy trucks and large trucks were found to respond negatively to road irregularities. Trucks were more likely to be affected dynamically by potholes, meaning that trucks could pose a greater hazard to other drivers on the road when they hit road irregularities. The researchers concluded that potholes and other irregularities could contribute to increased accident rates.
Truck companies and drivers may be quick to place all the blame on potholes, but the reality is that truck accidents often involve a host of factors. A driver’s decisions regarding how to negotiate roadway hazards has an impact on whether an accident occurs or not. Truck weight, vehicle integrity, maintenance, and driver fatigue also all play a role.
Victims of truck accidents shouldn’t allow corporate rhetoric that is quick to blame infrastructure influence their decisions in seeking rightful compensation for their injuries. A skilled truck accident lawyer like Lance Stevens in Mississippi can help victims disentangle the sometimes complex web of blame. You can visit his website at http://www.stevensandward.com. While municipalities certainly play a role in keeping citizens safe, truck drivers also need to take precautions by observing speed limits, weight requirements, and rest regulations.