There are trucks all over our roadways across the United States. Truckers are essential to our economy and are responsible for getting products to where they need to be to keep our society going. Every store and household depends on truckers getting where they need to be. Without our truckers doing their job, store shelves would be empty, and homes suffer.
Unfortunately, despite all the training and certifications that truckers must acquire, a select few truckers remain who must feel immune to any accidents. When there is a truck accident, the damage is severe, as are the injuries of those involved. Property loss is astronomical for trucking companies and private citizens.
Federal agencies such as NHTSA and FMCSA work tirelessly with all states to identify the common causes of truck accidents and compile the following reasons why truck accidents happen. These federal agencies identified well over 800 accident causes. A protocol is being implemented to help decrease the high number of truck accidents. Professionals are sent to accident scenes as soon as possible to collect data on all truck accidents. The data includes an investigation of the following.
- Documented interviews of drivers, passengers, witnesses
- Onsite truck and other vehicle inspections
- Weather conditions
- Road conditions
- Traffic congestion and flow
- Truckers logbook
- Maintenance sheets
- Police reports
- Hospital records
- Crash scene pictures
- Cameral footage
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
- Lack of Training
While truck drivers do not hinder many other drivers on the roadways, a few drivers do not relish sharing the road with truckers. Truck drivers must take specific training courses to become certified and drive with a seasoned trucker before they are sent out on the road by themselves. There is a difference in training and certification between those truckers who drive delivery trucks and truckers who drive 18-wheelers. There are various certificates that truckers must earn depending on the size of the truck they operate and what they are hauling. For instance, a trucker who carries chemicals and flammable loads must be specially certified.
A trucker has much more driving experience than those who drive cars, so you would think that there would be fewer reported truck accidents than other vehicles on the road. However, truck drivers can cause accidents due to their inexperience despite their required training and qualifications.
Truckers need time to become familiar with routes, safety, rules, regulations, and unusual driving conditions. Little to no training increases the risk of accidents. Unfortunately, good training does not guarantee that drivers use safe driving practices.
- Overtired Truck Drivers
Truck drivers must adhere to tight schedules. Many trucking companies allow for possible schedule delays. However, too many companies do not give their drivers any room for delays and threaten their drivers with firing if the trucker does not meet schedules regardless of unprevented delays.
Truck drivers cannot drive over eleven consecutive hours without taking at least a ten-hour rest and break. Companies cannot force drivers not to take a break. However, some truckers push ahead and drive over these 11 hours and up to 16 hours consecutively. It is not uncommon for these drivers to become fatigued and fall asleep at the wheel.
- Distracted Truck Drivers
Sometimes, driving for so many hours brings about an element of boredom for the driver. The driver will attempt to do things that can make them take their eyes off the road, such as eating and drinking at the wheel, making and receiving cell phone calls, texting while driving, watching videos, and playing video games. It takes a truck time to stop due to the extra weight behind them. Multi-tasking means that the trucker must take their focus off the road. It only takes a split second with no focus on the road for an accident to occur.
- Too Much Load Weight
Trucking companies must abide by cargo limits. Overloaded, unbalanced, and ill-distributed loads cause trucks to become more difficult for drivers to control, raising their risk of an accident. Sometimes drivers lose their loads because they do not fasten the load securely, causing an accident when the load hits vehicles behind them.
- Defective and Poorly Maintained Trucks
Some trucking companies fail to fix defective truck parts, such as replacing breaks or replacing tires to cut costs. Not all companies keep their fleet in proper working order. Trucking companies must have mandatory inspections of their trucks. Companies may delay these inspections to save money.
- Speeding and Reckless Driving
Those truckers who are pressured to keep set schedules tend to drive faster and risk losing control of their truck. Heavily loaded trucks are more difficult to stop. Sudden breaking of these heavy trucks frequently jackknifes the truck, hitting those vehicles close to them.
- Weather Conditions
Some truckers do not adjust their speed to accommodate bad weather such as torrential rain, heavy snow, fog, ice, and more. Trucks can slide sideways or jackknife into other cars. Part of the training that truckers must have is driving in less than perfect weather. This type of weather makes controlling the truck more difficult.
- Road Hazards
Road hazards include construction zones, potholes, cracks in roadways, roadblocks, animals, and other obstacles that cause truck accidents if the driver is not focused.
Contact a Seasoned Truck Accident Advocate as Soon As Possible
No, not all truckers cause accidents. Crashes occur when automobile drivers drive in no-zone areas, speed, change lanes carelessly, fail to use turn signals, do not drive with lights on, misjudge obstacles, road rage, and more. If you are injured in a truck accident involving a large truck, please call us as soon as possible. We are seasoned and experienced truck accident attorneys whose goal is to protect your victim’s rights. Call us as soon as possible to hear your story and decide if you have a winning compensation case.