Car accident with a commercial vehicle

Different Types of Commercial Vehicles Involved in Accidents

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

As a personal injury law firm based in Los Angeles, California, serving residents across the state, we at J&Y Law understand the significance of addressing accidents involving various types of commercial vehicles. Accidents involving commercial vehicles can result in devastating consequences, from severe injuries to extensive property damage. In this blog post, we will delve into the different types of commercial vehicles that could be involved in accidents, their prevalence on the roads, and the alarming statistics related to commercial vehicle accidents in California.

Understanding the Range of Commercial Vehicles:

1. Delivery Trucks: 

A delivery truck speeding through the city

Delivery trucks are a common sight on our roads, particularly with the rise of e-commerce and online shopping. These vehicles come in various sizes, including vans and box trucks, and are utilized by a multitude of companies to transport goods to consumers’ doorsteps. While they provide convenience, their constant movement and frequent stops can increase the risk of accidents, especially in congested traffic. Factors such as abrupt stops, improper loading, and driver fatigue may contribute to accidents involving delivery trucks. Additionally, the pressure to meet delivery deadlines can lead to reckless driving behavior, further elevating the risk of collisions.

2. Semi-Trucks (18-Wheelers): 

These massive trucks, also known as tractor-trailers or semis, play a vital role in transporting goods across long distances. Due to their size and weight, accidents involving semi-trucks can be catastrophic. Maneuverability issues, driver fatigue, and improper loading can contribute to accidents. The sheer force of impact from a collision with a semi-truck can lead to life-changing injuries and even fatalities. The potential for jackknifing, rollovers, and difficulty stopping quickly adds to the complexity of driving these vehicles safely.

3. Buses: 

Buses are responsible for transporting numerous passengers daily, making them a vital mode of public transportation. School buses, public transit buses, and private charter buses are all part of this category. While buses are generally considered safe due to strict regulations and professional drivers, accidents can still occur due to factors such as driver negligence, poor maintenance, or road conditions. In school bus accidents, protecting the safety of young passengers is paramount, and negligence in adhering to safety protocols can have serious consequences.

4. Construction Vehicles: 

Construction vehicles, such as bulldozers, cranes, and excavators, operate in work zones and construction sites. These vehicles serve essential roles in building and maintaining our infrastructure. Accidents involving construction vehicles can lead to serious injuries for construction workers and bystanders alike. Operating in confined spaces, limited visibility, and the presence of workers in proximity can heighten the risk of accidents. Proper training, adherence to safety protocols, and effective communication on construction sites are crucial for accident prevention.

5. Taxis and Ride-Sharing Vehicles: 

Uber & Lyft sticker on a car with a California license plate

Taxis and vehicles used by ride-sharing platforms like Uber and Lyft are an integral part of urban transportation. Their constant presence in city streets can contribute to accidents, often due to sudden stops or distracted driving. While ride-sharing companies typically enforce background checks on their drivers, the fast-paced nature of the job can lead to driver fatigue and lapses in attentiveness, increasing the risk of accidents.

Prevalence of Different Commercial Vehicles in Accidents:

Understanding the prevalence of various commercial vehicles in accidents provides insights into the potential risks on the road:

– Delivery Trucks: With the surge in online shopping and delivery services, delivery trucks are increasingly becoming involved in accidents. Their frequent stops and interactions with pedestrians and other vehicles contribute to accident risks. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), delivery trucks were involved in a substantial number of accidents, often due to factors such as inadequate training, improper loading, or drowsy driving.

– Semi-Trucks: Semi-truck accidents, though less common in number compared to other vehicles, tend to result in more severe outcomes due to their size and weight. The FMCSA reports that semi-truck accidents often result from factors like driver fatigue, speeding, and vehicle maintenance issues.

– Buses: School bus accidents are less common due to strict safety regulations, but public transit buses can be involved in accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) highlights that bus accidents can be attributed to factors such as driver distraction, impaired driving, and inadequate maintenance.

– Construction Vehicles: Accidents involving construction vehicles are a concern, particularly in work zones where these vehicles operate. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) stresses the importance of proper training, communication, and safety protocols to prevent accidents on construction sites.

– Taxis and Ride-Sharing Vehicles: Accidents involving taxis and ride-sharing vehicles are often linked to distracted driving or sudden maneuvers in heavy traffic. A study by the University of Chicago found that ride-sharing platforms have led to an increase in traffic-related fatalities, with factors like distracted driving and driver inexperience playing a role.

Alarming Statistics on Commercial Vehicle Accidents in California:

California, being a hub of economic activity and a state with extensive road networks, witnesses a substantial number of commercial vehicle accidents:

  1. According to the California Highway Patrol’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), commercial vehicle accidents accounted for over 13,000 injuries and nearly 300 fatalities in a recent year.
  2. Large trucks were involved in approximately 12% of all fatal accidents and 5% of all injury accidents in California.
  3. Delivery trucks, due to their widespread use for online deliveries, have shown a significant increase in accidents. The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) reported a rise in delivery truck accidents, urging heightened caution around these vehicles.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What should I do immediately after a commercial vehicle accident?

A: First, prioritize your safety and the safety of others involved. Call for medical assistance if needed, and report the accident to the authorities. Exchange contact and insurance information with the driver. Document the scene, gather witness information, and consult an attorney for legal guidance.

Q: Can I seek compensation if I’m injured in a commercial vehicle accident?

A: Yes, if the accident resulted from another party’s negligence, you may be eligible to seek compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain, and suffering. Consulting an attorney can help assess your case’s strength and guide you through the legal process.

Q: What role does J&Y Law play in commercial vehicle accident cases?

A: At J&Y Law, we’re dedicated to assisting accident victims in seeking justice. Our experienced attorneys will investigate your case, gather evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and fight for your rightful compensation. We’re committed to standing up for your rights and helping you navigate the complex legal landscape.

Contact Our Commercial Vehicle Accident Attorneys

Navigating the aftermath of a commercial vehicle accident requires experienced legal representation. If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident, our team at J&Y Law is here to help. With our deep understanding of California’s legal landscape and a track record of advocating for accident victims, we are ready to provide the support and guidance you need. Contact us today for a free consultation and take the first step toward securing the compensation you deserve.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.