Cement Truck Accidents
Cement truck accidents are not an uncommon sight around Sacramento and the surrounding area. While many motorists give tractor-trailers a wide berth, they don’t always pay much attention to these large, lumbering vehicles with their spinning barrels. However, a concrete truck weighs around 26,000 pounds, and the load it is carrying can weigh 40,000 pounds. Add to that, a concrete mixer truck is inherently unstable because most of its weight is carried in the barrel, and rollover crashes are common.Contacting a Lawyer After a Cement Truck Accident
When a motor vehicle is in the way when a cement truck experiences a rollover, it can quickly turn into a tragedy with serious injuries and fatalities. Traffic collisions of this type can be complex. Getting advice from an injury attorney with experience in concrete mixer truck accident cases can make the difference in whether or not you obtain the compensation you deserve.Are Cement Truck Accidents Common?
An accident with a cement truck is more common than most people think. According to 2017 statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation:
- More than 4,000 people lost their lives in collisions with large trucks. Concrete trucks caused roughly 357 fatalities yearly.
- 68 percent of those who died in these collisions with a big truck were in passenger vehicles.
- 14 percent of the fatalities were to pedestrians, those on bicycles, or motorcyclists.
- Dump trucks, including concrete-hauling trucks, placed third in the number of serious injuries.
- About 66 percent of all serious accident injuries with a cement truck happen on roads and highways.
Accidents with concrete mixer trucks are usually due to rollovers or collisions. Because most motorists do not realize that a cement truck that is turning can flip over, a crash can happen before there is time to get out of the way. This is one of the reasons cement trucks move so slowly when turning.How Speed Causes Concrete Trucks to Rollover
Even going around a corner at 5 mph is enough to cause a rollover. In addition, they are hard to maneuver because the truck driver cannot see any obstacles that are out of their line of sight. This means there are times a driver might drift out of their lane and cause a head-on collision. The size, necessary slow speed, and lack of maneuverability mean the driver may not reenter their lane until it is too late.
In addition, the high center of gravity is a critical factor for cement truck rollovers. Basically, the concrete truck is top-heavy. This makes it easier for the truck to flip, especially on gravel-heavy soil found at construction sites.
The constant movement of a rotating drum on a cement truck is another cause for concern when anticipating a rollover. The movement of the drum also can cause a concrete truck to flip.Common Causes of Cement Truck Accidents
There are several reasons a cement truck can cause a wreck. Top causes of concrete mixer truck accidents include:
- Inexperienced cement truck driver: A cement truck driver has to be trained and experienced to handle a heavy, cumbersome vehicle of this type. Knowing how to safely make a turn without experiencing a rollover, what to do when a moving load shifts, which alters the center of gravity, and remaining alert to other drivers is important to avoid a concrete mixer truck accident. However, many experts say concrete truck drivers are younger and not as committed to traffic safety as they might have been in the past.
- Distracted driving: According to the American Contractors Insurance Group, distracted driving is becoming a risk due to cement truck operators’ lack of focus.
- Dense roads: Unlike long-haul truckers, concrete truck drivers travel on denser roads, especially in construction areas. This raises the risk of a cement truck wreck.
- Shifting loads: On occasion, a cement truck driver tries to avoid a collision with a passenger car driver. When this is done with an improperly loaded vehicle, the truck driver may lose control, and the cement truck can flip, causing injury or death.
- Mismanaged construction site: When motor vehicle traffic intersects a construction site, the area needs to be well-managed. All too often, management takes a hands-off approach, leading to less supervision and inadequate navigation procedures. This sets the stage for concrete truck collisions. When this happens, the construction company can be named in a claim.
- Speeding: Because a driver has a short period of time to deliver a load before the cement inside hardens, they may be tempted to speed to make the delivery faster. Since cement truck drivers are paid by the load or haul, the temptation to take shortcuts is always there due to the low pay scale and the need to rack up more hauls in a day. The cement inside the truck hardens in around 90 minutes. If the driver does not make it to their destination on time, it can mean that the barrel inside has to have the hardened cement removed by using chisels, hammers, or even a jackhammer. That can slow down the driver’s ability to make another run.
Our investigators will go over every possible detail to prove what happened in a cement truck injury accident. They will inspect the police report for errors and interview the witnesses. Traffic surveillance cameras will be sought to find a video of the crash and accident reconstruction performed.
In addition, the investigators will check into the background of the driver and concrete truck company to see if problems had previously been reported. The truck will be inspected for defects and whether traffic laws were obeyed. Once the evidence is complete, it will be handed over to our lawyers. From there, our cement truck attorneys will prepare a strong claim for financial compensation or present the case in civil court if necessary.
Specific factors may affect the value of a concrete truck accident injury case. To learn more about the personal injury claims process for such cases, watch the video below.
Accidents involving cement trucks can be complicated because more than the driver may be liable for the crash. This is why it is a good idea to consult with a cement truck accident attorney before settling quickly with an insurance company. Since insurance companies are in business to make money, their offer will be low and may not cover all of your injury expenses, especially if they continue into the future.
Following are some of the areas where liability may be uncovered that could mean a big difference in what you receive for your injuries:
- The cement truck driver: Drivers of concrete mixer trucks should be trained and licensed to do so. If they have violated safety guidelines by driving distracted, violating traffic laws, or other infractions, they may be held responsible for accident injuries.
- The driver’s employer: Companies that operate cement trucks as a part of their business have the responsibility to hire qualified, trained drivers. In addition, they are responsible for the safe upkeep of the vehicle to ensure it is in good operating condition.
- The cement truck manufacturer: If a vehicle is poorly designed or contains defective parts that cause a concrete mixer truck wreck, the manufacturer and others may be held liable through a product liability lawsuit. Our investigators can examine the vehicle for defects that led to your concrete mixer truck accident.
- The mechanic that maintains the truck: A cement truck with faulty work performed on it and isn’t properly repaired can lead to an accident. In these cases, the mechanic who performed the work can be liable.
A collision with a concrete mixer truck can leave you with traumatic injuries, high medical bills, the inability to work, and pain and suffering. Our injury lawyers offer free, friendly advice when you call us about your accident case at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400.
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Editor’s Note: This page has been updated for accuracy and relevancy [cha 8.2.22]
Image by F. Muhammad from Pixabay
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