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Aggressive Driving Truck Accident Attorneys in Boston, MA

Road rage and aggressive driving are problematic no matter what kind of vehicle is being driven, but large trucks inherently cause more damage. Of the roughly 5,000 fatal truck accidents that occur annually, about 4,000 involve trucks colliding with passenger vehicles. Truck crashes are more likely to result in fatality than when cars collide with other cars.

Although the terms aggressive driving and road rage are often used interchangeably, they are in fact slightly different. Road rage refers to drivers provoking one another or becoming angered and lashing out with reckless, dangerous actions behind the wheel. Aggressive driving, on the other hand, often involves those same kinds of dangerous actions, but generally without the intent to do harm.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports nearly 40 percent of truck accidents are the result of poor driver decisions – including truckers who engage in aggressive driving with negligence and reckless disregard for others.

Another analysis by the Insurance Information Institute revealed 56 percent of fatal crashes over a four-year stretch involved aggressive driving, with excessive speed being the No. 1 factor. Other examples of road rage behind the wheel of a truck includes:

  • Following improperly
  • Erratic or improper lane changes
  • Driving illegally on the shoulder of the road, median, sidewalk or in a ditch
  • Passing other vehicles where it is not allowed
  • Operating large trucks in a manner that is considered negligent, careless, reckless or erratic
  • Suddenly changing speeds
  • Refusing to yield the right-of-way
  • Refusing to obey traffic control devices, signs, officers or the laws of safety zones
  • Refusal to signal
  • Racing

It’s also sometimes characterized by making hand and facial gestures, screaming, honking and flashing lights at other drivers.

Truck drivers are trained to avoid confrontation with each other and other motorists. However, truckers today encounter more drivers than ever before, trucks are traversing longer distances, and congestion plus additional road time increases the risk of aggressive driving. As a result, truckers often struggle with avoiding confrontation leading to road rage incidents.

Which Type of Aggressive Driving Causes Most Truck Crashes?

Speed is the most common critical factor in aggressive driving resulting in truck crashes. But as our Boston truck accident lawyers know, there are often many different factors that collide to increase the risk of a crash. In fact, very few crashes have a single cause, but in most, there is a deciding error/failure.

It should be noted that law enforcement investigations may conclude with a citation for legal violations and a determination of fault for the truck accident. However, it’s not the last word, and those investigations rarely get into the “critical reason” – or primary factor – for the crash as well as all supporting factors that may have contributed. Both the trucking company and the attorney of those injured will be carefully assessing exactly what happened, usually with the help of an expert witness, to ascertain whether comparative negligence (fault on the part of the injured person) was an issue and if so, to what degree. An act of aggressive driving can cause a crash, but a finding of comparative negligence as defined in MGL Ch. 231 § 85 will result in a proportional reduction in damages for the plaintiff.

Aggressive Truckers are Deadly

One analysis by the think-tank DriveCam found that aggressive truck drivers are three times as likely to crash as drivers who are drowsy.

The analysis of more than 9,000 trucking industry drivers over a one-year period looked at trucker conduct in the moments prior to a crash compared to those who didn’t crash. What they found was that drivers who crashed were:

  • 6.5 times more likely to be driving aggressively;
  • 2.2 times more likely to be drowsy
  • 2 times more likely to demonstrate an error of judgment.
Fatal Outcomes of Trucker Aggressive Driving and Road Rage

Trucking industry lobbyists will insist that drivers of passenger cars are far more likely to be driving aggressively. Statistically, that’s true. However, when truckers engage in these behaviors, the damage they cause is almost always to other motorists – and it’s often extremely serious if not fatal.

Not long ago, a federal district court in Oregon ordered three trucking companies to pay $26 million in damages to the family of a woman killed when the truck drivers were found to have engaged in aggressive, unsafe behaviors on the road for more than 90 miles before colliding with the vehicle she was driving.

According to the family’s lawsuit, she and her husband were traveling down a two-lane highway when they encountered a semi-truck in their lane. The woman tried to veer onto the shoulder but was unsuccessful in avoiding collision. She was killed. Her husband, who had cancer and for whom she was a caregiver, was seriously injured.

The trucker with whom she collided also reportedly fled the scene, in violation of both state and federal statutes.

An investigation later revealed the truckers had been racing each other, speeding, trying to improperly pass each other over a double-yellow line, trying to block each other from passing where it was allowed and exchanging rude, angry hand gestures.

The damage award in Allison v. Smoot Enterprises et al. is believed to be one of the largest wrongful death trucking accident verdicts. Yet as our Boston trucking accident lawyers can explain, multimillion dollar verdicts are not unheard of because damages in trucking crashes are often so severe, given the size differential between a large truck and a passenger vehicle.

If you are injured in a trucking accident resulting from the aggressive actions of a driver, we can help.

Contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman today for a free and confidential consultation.

Call (617) 367-2900 – NO FEE UNLESS SUCCESSFUL

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