Vehicle Accidents

Potholes as Road Hazards

Car accidents happen because of many reasons. They can happen because of driver error and recklessness, such as distracted driving, drunk driving, and speeding. They can happen because of manufacturer negligence and defective auto parts. But one of the most overlooked factors that can cause car accidents is road hazards, particularly potholes.

Potholes form when tiny cracks in the roads widen and deepen because of further erosion. Many roads have potholes, and in turn, many motorists are also at risk of accidents caused by these road defects. According to the website of the Milwaukee car accident attorneys of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ®, municipal agencies responsible for the maintenance of roadways may be held liable for auto accidents that have occurred due to potholes. This is especially true if the accident has caused injury or death.

But how do potholes contribute to car accidents specifically? Firstly, drivers who see potholes have the instinct of avoiding them by swerving. If their vehicles switch to another lane, they are putting themselves in danger of possible collisions with stationary objects or other moving objects such as vehicles, motorcycles, and pedestrians in the other lane. In this kind of accident, it can be argued that driver error has played a role. But it doesn’t change the fact that the existence of the pothole is what triggered the accident in the first place.

There are instances where drivers intentionally go through potholes instead, especially if they cannot swerve because of other vehicles in the other lanes. If these drivers are going too fast and are not holding onto the steering wheel hard enough, they may momentarily lose control of their vehicles and cause crashes or collisions.

Those who go through potholes also put their vehicles at risk of sustaining damages, particularly in the tires. Going through potholes have been known to cause tire blowouts and car crashes.
There are also drivers who unintentionally go through the potholes. This mostly occurs when the drivers don’t even know that there are potholes in the area. These unsuspecting drivers may be vulnerable to rollover accidents and vehicle ejections.

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Negligent Hiring of Truck Drivers: The Cause of Many Major Accidents

One fatal trucking accident which may probably be considered as among the worst that have occurred in the US was the one that took place on Interstate 80 on the morning of August 1, 2006. A minivan, which had four occupants in it (a woman, her mother, and her two sons – one 15 months old while the other was 3 years old) was caught in traffic congestion and slowed down behind a flat-bed truck. Approaching behind the van was a three-axle Intercontinental 9400 semi-trailer, which was said to have failed to slow down in time. The truck rear-ended the van, crushed and slammed it into the flat-bed truck, causing it and the semi-trailer to be engulfed by a horrific fire. No one survived the accident: not the semi-trailer driver and, definitely, not the occupants of the minivan.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says that fatal truck accidents happen almost 11 times a day, resulting to more than 4,000 deaths and more than 100,000 injuries each year. While this number of fatalities caused by trucks is only a tenth of the number of deaths resulting from car accidents, truck accidents remain to be more tragic due to their much more destructive results.

Despite the threats presented by trucks (because of the severity of the damages that these can cause in the event of an accident), there is no way that these huge vehicles will be removed from US roads and highways due to their major contribution to the country’s economy. Therefore, in order to allay the fear of so many other motorists from sharing the road with these vehicles, the government makes sure that only qualified, licensed and well trained drivers are allowed to operate them. Laws have also been passed, all of which are aimed at ensuring the safety operation of trucks; laws like the allowed maximum number of driving hours and the required number of hours of rest, lower level of blood alcohol concentration (0.04%), strict prohibition of the use of cell phone, use of standard tires and brakes, regular maintenance of the vehicle, and a mandate on employers to keep bad drivers off the road.

Upon digging deeper into the accident mentioned above, however, a private investigator hired by the lawyer of the victim’s family found out that driver of the semi-truck had 3 past cases of rear-end accidents, 7 warnings from his safety manager, and drove at an unsafe speed prior to the accident: the warnings and the past cases of rear-end accidents, according to traffic authorities, should have been seen by the driver’s employer as a red flag for unsafe driving, more than enough reason to keep the driver off the road.

According to the website of the Abel Law Firm, hiring a driver with a bad driving record (that is, with a history of accidents or other moving violations) is a grave act of negligent hiring – a major offense committed by employers who only intend to increase their own profit. This is one example of careless employer act to which any employer can be held totally responsible and for which he/she can be required to answer in court.

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