Because of the size and weight of any truck from pickups to 18-wheelers, truck accidents are often more devastating than other types of vehicle crashes. Truck crashes are often more dangerous for individuals in passenger vehicles, which typically weigh no more than around 4,000 lbs compared to a semi-truck that can weigh nearly 100,000 lbs.
One of the keys to preventing these types of accidents is to be aware of how they occur. The following are some of the most common causes of accidents among commercial truck drivers.
Long trips on the road can become monotonous for anyone, especially commercial truck drivers who spend much of their life driving across the country. Drivers may look for something to help keep their minds occupied and alleviate some of the boredom they’re likely to experience. Often times, they’ll turn to their phones to engage in text messages, make calls, or even browse the internet. They might simply reach out to change the radio station, which momentarily distracts them and averts their eyes from the road.
Any of these activities can result in an accident, as drivers can’t afford any distractions when driving at such high speeds, regardless of how brief.
Fatigue among drivers is the most common cause of semi-truck accidents. A majority of commercial truck drivers travel for long distances over the course of many hours with minimal chance to rest. One of the main reasons for insufficient rest periods is because the companies behind these drivers need goods delivered from one destination to another in a timely manner. As a result, drivers are under pressure to remain as efficient as possible to avoid missing any deadlines, and this often results in a lack of sleep.
As drivers become increasingly fatigued, they will begin to lose concentration and may even fall asleep at the wheel, causing an accident.
Speeding and Other Traffic Law Violations
Violating traffic laws is dangerous regardless of what kind of vehicle is involved, but the danger is even greater with larger trucks. The demand for truck drivers to deliver goods within a short period of time often encourages them to speed to reach their destination sooner, particularly if factors such as weather conditions, road construction, and traffic slow things down. If drivers fail to reach their destinations on time, their jobs could be at risk, which may lead them to speed or violate other traffic laws.
In addition to speeding, drivers may run red lights or overtake smaller cars at high speeds, forcing them to veer off the road and potentially causing serious accidents.
Drug and/or Alcohol Abuse
Truck drivers are often discovered to have been abusing alcohol or other drugs while driving, resulting in an accident. Some drivers may ingest these substances when stopped or even on the road, but regardless of when they consume them, drivers put themselves and others at great risk when they abuse any substance.
In some cases truck drivers may be required to take prescription drugs, but many medications can also impair both judgment and coordination that prevent the safe operation of heavy machinery.
Overloading or Improper Loading
To help prevent overloading or otherwise improper loading, there are specific limits in place regarding the weight, length, height, width, and size of loads, along with specific methods for loading and securing all cargo prior to transportation. Any negligence or miscalculations throughout the loading process could cause the load to fall off of the back of the truck, leading to accidents in many cases.
Today’s technology has allowed for much more efficient loading and accurate measurements, which has helped prevent many issues pertaining to improper loading. To further make sure that loads are properly measured and secured, trucking companies should monitor vehicle conditions and driver behavior.
Poor Truck Maintenance
If a truck is poorly maintained, the risk of a potentially fatal accident can increase significantly. According to the Large Truck Crash Causation Study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in 2007, brake problems were found to be the leading associated factor in accidents involving large trucks. Other mechanical failures can also unexpectedly arise while driving, leading to potentially fatal accidents.
To ensure that a truck is in consistently good condition, it’s important for truck owners to get regular preventative maintenance checks.
Here at Collins, Collins & Ray, P.C., our Little Rock truck accident attorneys know how to help truck accident victims build a successful claim. If you need reliable representation for a personal injury claim because of a driver’s negligent and unsafe behavior, give us a call today.