Truck accidents are a serious issue facing both transportation industry professionals and residents of the communities in which these accidents occur. In 2017, the number of fatal truck crashes increased by 9%, demonstrating the importance of understanding what causes these accidents and how to reduce their occurrence. Many choose to reach out and employ the services of truck accident attorneys.
In this blog post, we will be exploring the various factors that contribute to truck accidents, from driver negligence to road conditions, in order to gain a comprehensive understanding of the issue. We will also be looking into potential solutions to reduce the severity and frequency of these accidents. With a better understanding of the causes of truck accidents, we can all work together to create a safer environment on the roads.
1. Driving Under The Influence
This is especially true for commercial truck drivers, due to the size of the vehicles they are operating, as well as the greater potential for injury or damage if an accident occurs. It is important for truck drivers and those who employ them to understand the dangers of operating a vehicle while under the influence, and to take the necessary steps to ensure it does not occur. This includes taking responsibility for any truck they are driving, and adhering to the company’s policies regarding drug and alcohol use while on the job.
2. Excessive Speed
Truck drivers must abide by the speed limit for the safety of everyone on the road. Additionally, truck drivers should be aware of the speed limit, as well as any other special speed restrictions for certain roads or conditions. Excessive speed can lead to an inability to stop in time, or a loss of control of the truck. Truckers need to be aware of their limits and the limits of their vehicle when driving, and adhere to them.
3. Driver Fatigue
Long hours, inadequate rest, and any medication that might impair judgment can lead to a driver becoming fatigued while behind the wheel. Driver fatigue can cause drivers to lose focus, become distracted, and make poor decisions while they are driving. It is important for truck drivers to get enough rest and to avoid over-the-counter or prescription medication that could cause drowsiness. Additionally, employers should ensure that their drivers do not exceed the legal limit for hours on the road.
4. Distracted Driving
Truckers often have to use their phones and tablets to check directions, make calls, and other tasks, and this can leave them distracted. It is important for truckers to be mindful of the dangers of distracted driving, as it can lead to catastrophic consequences. Furthermore, given the size and weight of trucks, even a moment of distraction can lead to a serious accident with widespread damage. It is essential for truckers to be aware of the importance of keeping their focus on the road.
5. Poorly Maintained Trucks
Due to the sheer size and weight of trucks, they are much more difficult to control when they are in disrepair. Regular maintenance and inspection are essential to keeping trucks safe and reliable. Problems such as worn brakes, worn tires, and faulty lights can cause the truck to become a hazard on the road, leading to accidents. It is important for trucking companies to make sure their fleet is well maintained, and for drivers to stay alert and inspect their trucks before each drive.
6. Unfamiliarity With The Roads
Truckers have to adjust their speeds to the road conditions, and without knowing the roads, they can easily make miscalculations leading to crashes. Additionally, truckers who are unfamiliar with the roads may not be aware of potential hazards, like sharp turns and narrow roads, which can also lead to dangerous accidents. It is important, therefore, that truck drivers thoroughly research the roads they are taking and familiarize themselves with the conditions before beginning their journey.
7. Poor Weather Conditions
Poor weather conditions, such as rain, snow, and ice, can make driving conditions more dangerous for truckers. Slick surfaces can reduce traction, making it more difficult for drivers to maneuver their vehicles safely. Poor visibility due to rain, fog, or snow can also make it more difficult for drivers to spot potential hazards. High winds can also cause trucks to sway and make it more difficult for drivers to control their vehicles.
8. Inadequate Training
Drivers, either newly hired or already experienced, may not be aware of or adhere to the special regulations and laws that pertain to truckers. For instance, regulations about the number of hours a driver can work, the speed at which they can travel, and the types of cargo that may be carried. If drivers are not properly trained on these aspects, the chances of an accident are greatly increased. Furthermore, in some cases, the employer may be liable for providing inadequate training or failing to properly evaluate the driver’s capabilities.
9. Improper Loading
Poorly distributed weight, an unbalanced load, or a load that is positioned in an unsafe manner can cause a truck to lose control. Additionally, if a load is not secured properly and comes loose while the truck is moving, it can cause the truck to swerve or even overturn. Drivers must take the time to properly secure and balance loads before they begin driving, or else they can be liable for any accidents that occur from improper loading.
10. Negligence of Other Drivers
This can include failure to yield, running a red light, speeding, distracted driving, or driving under the influence. These types of negligence put both the truck driver and other road users at risk. It is important for truck drivers to pay extra attention to their surroundings and road signs to help reduce the risk of being involved in an accident due to the negligence of another driver. Additionally, truck drivers should be aware of the speed limits on the roads and highways they use, and should never exceed those limits.
Truck accidents can be caused by a variety of factors, from driver fatigue to poor road conditions. While some of these factors are out of the control of the driver, there are measures that truck drivers can take to help reduce their chances of being involved in an accident. By following safety protocols, truck drivers can help keep themselves and other drivers around them safe on the road.