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Runaway truck ramp in the woods

How Common Are Runaway Trucks?

It’s no secret that America has a trucking problem. Experienced drivers are retiring, undertrained drivers are replacing them, and poor maintenance is causing parts to wear down and break. All of these factors contribute to America’s annual 450,000 truck crashes, but there’s one specific kind of trucking accident that often goes overlooked: runaway trucks.

What is a Runaway Truck?

While driving down a steep incline, especially in a mountainous region, you may see the road split into a third lane that abruptly turns into a steep ramp of sand or gravel. This is the runaway truck lane and it’s used when a truck’s brakes fail or they’re unable to downshift on a steep incline.

Runaway trucks have two main causes. First, a fully-loaded truck is so heavy and has so much energy behind it that there’s not enough mechanical force in the brakes to control the truck and bring it down to a safe speed. Second, is that the trucking company was negligent in providing routine maintenance and failed to replace worn-out brakes. In either case, the result is that the brakes fail, and the truck driver endangers everyone on the road.

How Many Runaway Trucks Per Year?

Current numbers estimate that runaway trucks aren’t especially common in the grand scheme of truck accidents, but they are exceptionally deadly. There are an estimated 4,000 runaway truck incidents per year in the US (accounting for less than 1% of all truck crashes). Of those, the majority of drivers are able to find a runaway truck ramp and only damage their own vehicle and merchandise. But roughly one in four runaway trucks are unable to get off the road and end up crashing into nearby cars or even multiple vehicles.

If you or someone you love suffered severe injuries or even wrongful death in a trucking crash, you might have a case. If you’d like an experienced Riverdale truck accident attorney from Law Offices of Falanga & Chalker to evaluate your case, please don’t hesitate to send us an email or call (470) 450-1164.

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