Every 15 minutes, a fatal truck collision occurs. Along with this unfortunate fact from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, severe injuries are also a common occurrence in crashes involving large vehicles. But what are the reasons behind these catastrophic events? While there are too many circumstances to list in one blog, here are the 10 most common causes of truck accidents:
What are the Causes of Truck Accidents?
The larger the vehicle, the less reaction time the driver has. It takes more time than smaller vehicles to make even the smallest of corrections, making speeding trucks extremely dangerous because they have even less control. A speeding truck is a danger to themselves and others on the road; thus, speeding truck drivers should be held accountable for their behavior.
2. Distracted Driving
As stated, a trucker’s reaction time is vastly shorter. Having a trucker’s attention off the road for even a few moments to do things like text, change music, or pick up a dropped item can result in expensive property damage, injuries, or even deaths.
3. Driving Under the Influence
Driving under the influence of alcohol or other substances impairs judgment, vision, and/or reaction time—dangers for any driver. Regardless of if the driver is behind the wheel of a minivan or a semi-truck, driving under the influence is a felony offense which can cause harm to everyone on the road.
4. Fatigued Driving
According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleep deprivation has a similar effect on drivers as alcohol. Both cause slowed reaction times and affect alertness and decision-making. Additionally, studies found that drunk and drowsy driving results in a similar number of crashes. Truckers who fail to avoid driving fatigue can veer into wrong lanes, miss traffic signals, and even fall asleep and lose control of the vehicle completely.
5. Poor Cargo Loading
The amount and way in which cargo is loaded onto trucks is important. Cargo can spill out of the back and onto the road. Overloaded and imbalanced trucks have poor maneuverability and can even tip over the entire vehicle.
Approximately 114,000 people suffer from injuries in truck accidents.
6. Poor Vehicle Maintenance
Insufficient inspection and maintenance results in dangerous consequences. Worn tires can cause blowouts and old brake pads can result in loss of control. Even the smallest of maintenance issues need to be addressed because it could cause an accident.
7. Bad Weather Conditions
From icy roads and hydroplaning to fog and poor visibility, weather conditions can greatly impact a driver’s ability to safely maneuver the road. Even though weather is a force of nature, legal action is sometimes required, such as when an inexcusable delay in salting the road causes a trucking accident.
8. Aggressive Driving
Long work hours and stress to make deliveries on time can make truck drivers more prone to aggressive driving or even road rage. Cutting other drivers off, failure to yield the right of way, and following at an unsafe distance are all forms of aggressive driving that can cause serious injury or death if left unchecked.
9. Poor Training
Driving a commercial truck is not the same as driving a regular car. It requires an additional level of training and certification to operate such a large vehicle. Truckers who don’t have proper training lack the skills necessary to drive something of that size, resulting in hazardous accidents.
10. Negligent Hiring Practices
Unskilled and dangerous drivers get behind the wheels of trucks when trucking companies fail to conduct sufficient background checks or neglect to contact references.
Keep Those Responsible for Trucking Accidents Accountable
Trucking accidents are costly, dangerous, and often deadly. While there are many reasons a trucking accident may occur, it’s important to keep those responsible for what happened accountable. Foley & Small is here to help. Learn more about assessing liability of semi-truck accidents and what actions can be taken.