Lane departures occur when a truck – due to its width, shifting cargo, wind, and other control issues – veers into a passing lane, a slower lane, or, in the worst case scenario, into oncoming traffic.
When trucks intentionally shift lanes, the driver has to worry about the trucks’ blinds spots, the speed of other vehicles, and other factors. There is no excuse for a truck unintentionally entering into another lane. If it does and causes a collision, the driver, the trucking company that hired the truck, the shipping company, the broker, and/or even the truck manufacturer may be liable.
Why are truck lane departures so dangerous?
An unplanned lane departure can make it impossible for smaller vehicles to get out of the way fast enough to avoid a collision. Cars and motorcycles are simply no match for a tractor-trailer or any large commercial truck. Large trucks are wider, longer, taller, and heavier than other vehicles. This means that, in any truck accident, it is the driver and passengers in the smaller vehicles who are likely to die or suffer serious injuries.
Why truck drivers may be liable for a lane departure accident
Trucks are difficult to control, which is why commercial drivers require a special license, called a commercial driver’s license (CDL), in order for a driver to operate the truck. They require longer distances in order to stop. The cargo in the truck may shift around when the truck is in operation. Truck drivers need to be extra-vigilant due to the truck’s blind spots so they can avoid a truck accident.
All truck drivers need to be aware of the vehicles in front of them, behind them, to their right, and to their left. Drivers need to know exactly when any part of their truck might cross over into another lane and take immediate corrective steps to straighten the truck’s path and stay in the correct lane. They need to operate their vehicle in the center of their lane, at or below the legal speed limits, and with full control in case emergencies occur.
Current technology that can help reduce and eliminate lane departure accidents
Failure to use quality products for known dangers such as lane departures may constitute negligence. If the technology is defective, the truck accident victims may have a product liability claim against the manufacturer.
Consumer Reports recently profiled some of the technologies that all truck manufacturers should consider. It uses infrared, laser, and video sensors to help trucks determine and adjust to lane departures. When a possible lane departure is imminent, the technology can either help the truck straighten its course or provide sound, sight, and touch warnings (such as vibrations) to the truck driver. The technologies include:
- Lane departure warnings (LDW), which provide warnings to the driver that the truck is leaving or has left its lane
- Lane keeping assist (LKA) technology, which adjusts the steering and the brakes to keep the truck centered in its lane
- Lane centering assist (LCA) technology, which continually fights to keep the truck centered while in its lane
When lane departure accidents happen, many people and companies may be responsible. The driver, the trucking company that hired the driver, the broker that arranged the shipment, and the manufacturer of the truck may all be liable for any deaths or injuries they cause. At Warren & Kallianos, PLLC, our experienced Charlotte, NC truck accident lawyers work aggressively to show who is liable and what damages the liable parties should pay. Schedule a free consultation by calling 704-377-7777, or by filling our contact form.