Although accidents involving trucks are not as prevelant as car accidents, when truck accidents do occur, the results can be catastrophic. Because there is such a disparity between the size of a commercial truck and a car, these types of crashes are very dangerous and can be devastating to those car drivers involved.
Incidentally, with truck accidents, the truck driver can do everything right, and an accident can still occur because of negligent maintenance of the truck. This is a very real problem with vehicles of this size. If a tractor-trailer is not mechanically maintained and checked with regularity, it doesn't matter if the truck driver is negligent or not; the mechanical malfunction will cause an accident.
In Norristown, for example, a municipal waste tractor-trailer recently ran through a red light when his brakes failed and hit a car passing through the intersection. The car was occupied by a mother and her two children. The truck then jumped the sidewalk in order to avoid a gas station. In doing so, the vehicle's fuel tanks were ruptured and diesel fuel spilled into a parking lot.
A number of cars were involved in this accident, and as a result, one car was totaled and several others sustained serious damage. Luckily no one was seriously injured, although things could easily have been much worse.
The accident in Norristown raises questions about negligent truck maintenance. The driver had to run the stop light and avoid a gas station because of the failure of the brakes. Even though the driver of the truck avoided further collisions, a diesel spill did occur, causing a hazardous condition. Arguably, had the brakes been properly maintained, the accident would not have happened.
Trucking companies have an obligation to ensure that their vehicles are safe to drive, and if the trucks are not safe, then the trucking companies can be held liable for mechanical defects. In this particular case, the trucking company could not be found, since it was not registered with any local, county or state office.. One has to wonder what the trucking company has to hide.
Source: Norristown Patch, "Police Release Details of July 2 Truck Crash in Norristown," James Myers, July 9, 2012