According to the U.S Department of Transportation, accidents involving large trucks were responsible for over 4,100 deaths in 2018 and approximately two-thirds of these deaths were drivers and passengers in cars and other passenger vehicles.
Commercial truck accidents are also responsible for thousands of severe injuries, including traumatic brain injuries. When you consider that a big rig can weigh over 30,000 pounds, over seven times heavier than the average passenger vehicle, it is no surprise that these accidents can be so devastating.
Because of the severity of these accidents, it is important to be aware of some of the common causes of commercial truck accidents.
Driver Fatigue and Distraction
Truck drivers often spend long hours on the road with no company to complete their deliveries on time. As a result, they often get tired and may doze off behind the wheel, which can result in severe accidents. The Federal Motor Carrier Administration has driver fatigue laws and other regulations in place to prevent this from happening. The laws require drivers to take regular breaks and limit the number of consecutive hours they can spend behind the wheel. The regulations also limit the number of total hours a driver can drive over the course of a few days. However, many companies and drivers violate these regulations in order to get their jobs done, putting everyone at serious risk.
Some drivers may attempt to keep themselves entertained on these long journeys by texting, surfing the internet, adjusting the radio, eating, or doing other distracting activities. Distracting driving is against the law for all drivers and can be just as dangerous as drowsy driving.
Poorly Maintained Vehicles
The owner of the truck, usually the trucking company, is responsible for making sure that trucks are inspected regularly, as required by FMCA regulations. If an inspection reveals a maintenance issue, it is the owner’s duty to ensure that the issue is resolved before the driver takes the truck on the road. Failure to properly inspect trucks and failure to keep up with maintenance is a common cause of truck accidents.
Driving a commercial truck requires much more training than driving a passenger vehicle. For this reason, commercial truck drivers are required to get special licenses to legally drive their trucks.
Due to the large size of the truck, it can be difficult to maneuver, particularly in bad weather. Truck drivers must drive slowly, particularly when turning, to ensure that they do not lose control of their vehicles. If not handled with care, large trucks are known to jackknife and skid out of control.
Without proper training and licensure, truck drivers may not be able to properly handle driving a commercial truck. As a result, many truck drivers violate traffic laws and FMCA regulations, causing severe accidents.
As you can see, many of the causes listed above are directly related to the negligent behavior of the truck driver and his or her employer. If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck accident, it is very possible that the driver of the truck and the company they work for are liable for the accident and any accident-related injuries and damages. An attorney in your area can review your case and help you recover the compensation you deserve following your truck accident.