Accidents involving commercial trucks are usually far more dangerous than a typical motor vehicle accident. This is because of a number of factors, though mainly due to the weight and the massive size of the truck. These types of accidents are serious in nature and often result in death or serious personal injuries to the passenger vehicle occupants. Though, there are some measures you can take to help prevent truck accidents when you are on the road. In order to do so, it is important to understand the situations that most often lead to truck accidents so you can be prepared.
Negligence on the road is common among all drivers and, while truck drivers are no exception to this rule, it may surprise you to learn that studies show approximately 81% of trucking accidents are actually caused by the passenger vehicles.
Other causes include:
One of the most common causes of trucking accidents is motor vehicles traveling in a truck’s blind spot. This is avoidable if you learn about the four most common blind spots. They are:
Many truck drivers are on the road for hours at a time and there is a chance for mistakes to happen due to truck driver error. Some may drive recklessly, drive while distracted, be under the influence of alcohol, or become tired behind the wheel.
The University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute — a leader in truck-related crash research, says ATA — studied 8,309 fatal car-truck crashes to determine fault. 81 percent of the time, car drivers were assigned at fault, says the study, versus 27 percent for truck drivers. Learn MORE...
Studies have shown that driving while fatigued can be just like driving while under the influence. Many truck crashes take place between midnight and 3 AM and due to this, an Hours of Service (HOS) regulation was passed by the Federal Government to address this problem. The idea was to limit commercial drivers’ time during in which they could operate their vehicles. For example, a driver that carries products is required to rest for at least 10 consecutive hours before they are allowed to drive up to a maximum of 11 hours. Such drivers also must sleep for 8 hours and take another break for 2 hours.
It is more difficult to stop a speeding truck since large trucks take longer to slow down than a regular vehicle. A truck that is speeding on a slick roadway is more prone to lose traction. This truck could then start hydroplaning and sliding on the road and into other vehicles. Trucks that speed fast around curves are also more likely to lose control compared to drivers who are following the speed limit. Once the truck driver loses control, his load may shift which then causes the truck to rollover or jackknife.
Truck drivers have a schedule for delivering items, but sometimes may fall behind. In order to get back on schedule, drivers may engage in activities that are considered visual, manual, and cognitive distractions to make up the time. This typically means multitasking and partaking in other activities while driving. Many truck drivers may eat behind the wheel in order to catch up on time. Truck drivers also are known to make use of a CB radio, may attempt to navigate using a GPS system while driving, talk on their cell phone, smoke cigarettes, and some even shave while driving! Billboards, other vehicles, and nearby landmarks are the three main distractions outside the truck which contribute to the estimated 11,000 truck crashes that have taken place over a three-year span. All of these things are well-known causes of distracted driving accidents.
Driving Under The Influence Of Drugs, Medication Or Alcohol:
Truck drivers will sometimes drink too much on a break or before their shift starts and then operate their truck under the influence. This is considered criminal and negligent behavior. A trucker’s blood-alcohol level must be below .04 percent, pursuant to Commercial Drivers’ License requirements. The .04 percent threshold is easy to reach and is set at this point for good reason. Authorities do not want truckers driving even with the smallest amount of alcohol in their system. Alcohol is known to impair bodily functions and judgment.
Trucks drive many miles in a day. This can lead to a high rate of wear and tear on these trucks that require continual maintenance. Some main maintenance issues include:
Worn out brake pads:
The failure to regularly have brake pads checked and replaced after a certain number of miles is a common cause for truck brake failure.
Truck drivers are expected to check their tires before beginning every drive. Trucking companies take on even more responsibility than the individual driver. They are obligated to replace tires that are worn out or defective. Unfortunately, this does not happen all the time which then leads to tire blowouts. Blown-out tires are one of the leading causes of truck accidents.