Accidents involving cement trucks are common in Santa Clarita and neighboring areas. Like other large trucks, cement trucks can be significantly large and heavy.
Also, they feature an elevated drum that remains in constant motion, which significantly increases the chances of an accident due to the high center of gravity and motion.
These factors make sharing the road with cement trucks especially dangerous. If you live in Santa Clarita, this guide offers some important facts about cement truck accidents that you may want to know.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents in Santa Clarita
Uneven weight is among the leading causes of truck accidents but more so for cement trucks. When loaded, a cement truck can hold several tons of liquid cement or concrete mix that has to remain in a constant rotary motion to avoid setting.
Besides the instability caused by the rotating cylindrical drum, the liquid concrete mix keeps shifting under certain circumstances.
For example, in emergency braking, the inertia gained by the liquid concrete can mean that the truck will need longer stopping distances or cause a spill that could result in an accident. Also, swift turns can cause the weight of the load to shift, causing the truck to tip over.
Speeding is a factor in every type of auto accident. Cement trucks are always racing against time to make deliveries before the liquid concrete in its rolling drums dries.
If a cement truck driver is caught up in traffic, they will always try to compensate for the lost time. Unfortunately, high speed and an unstable load are a dangerous combination that can significantly increase the chances of an accident.
Poor Vehicle Maintenance
Trucking companies and truck owners are responsible for ensuring that their trucks are road worthy. If truck maintenance is behind schedule, the chances of an accident resulting from tear and wear can increase significantly.
Wet cement can cause cement trucks to deteriorate much faster and may require more attention than ordinary trucks. Poor maintenance amounts to gross negligence on the part of the truck owner or company. If you believe poor vehicle maintenance was a factor in an accident where you suffered harm, you should consider seeking punitive damages from the at-fault party.
Most truck accidents are a result of human error. But the driver is not always responsible for the accident. But there are situations where the driver is directly to blame for an accident.
Such situations include when the driver is distracted, fatigued, or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
At other times it could be driver inexperience with cement trucks. When driver error is the cause of an accident, the employer will still be responsible for damages resulting from the accident under the doctrine of vicarious liability.
What to Do if You’ve Been Involved in a Cement Truck Accident
Truck accidents differ from most auto accidents because trucks operate under different federal and state laws.
Also, truck accidents have a high chance of resulting in severe injuries, which can add to the complexity of a case. Therefore it would not be a good idea to pursue a cement truck accident claim without the help of a lawyer with decades of experience winning trucking lawsuits to increase your chances of a fair outcome.
Also, you have to consider a lawyer’s geographical region of practice. If a lawyer does not have an office in Santa Clarita, they may not be the best option for your case.
While there is no way of eliminating all chances of getting into an accident, most accidents are avoidable if truck drivers are a little conscious of how they drive loaded cement trucks. But you can not rely on others for your safety. So, it’s best to drive defensively when sharing a road with cement trucks.