Trucking accidents are extremely dangerous. With nearly a quarter of all accidents involving three or more vehicles and over half causing fatal or incapacitating injuries, it is no wonder that the government requires special licensing and provides ongoing safety programs to help combat the risk of truck-related accidents.
As truck accident attorneys with decades of combined experience, we have seen more than our fair share of trucking collisions. Here are some of the most common causes:
From starting the engine to shifting gears to driving in reverse, almost everything about driving a tractor-trailer is different from driving an ordinary vehicle. Becoming proficient requires extensive classroom and behind-the-wheel training. Truck drivers must also take a test and obtain their commercial driver’s license (CDL) prior to going on the road. Drivers with inadequate training or who aren’t licensed are more likely to cause serious accidents.
Of course, even experienced drivers make mistakes. Driver error – including speeding and aggressive driving – is one of the most common causes of truck-related accidents. With their huge size and mass, trucks are much more difficult to control in case of an emergency. Swerving, sudden lane changes, braking too late, and running off the road are all frequent causes of trucking collisions.
Truck drivers are just as prone to driving distractions as anyone else. Distracted drivers cause thousands of deaths and hundreds of thousands of injuries each year. Eating, talking on the phone, texting, and fiddling with maps or a GPS device all take focus away from the road. In a semi truck, a split-second distraction can lead to a lifetime of consequences due to a serious or fatal collision.
Laws and employment regulations limit the number of hours that truck drivers can spend on the road. However, truck drivers often exceed the limits, and even the approved number of hours is a lot for the average driver. Some of the most dangerous accidents are those that occur when a truck driver falls asleep behind the wheel.
Driving under the influence is never a good idea. Using alcohol, illegal drugs, or prescription medications can significantly interfere with a driver’s mental faculties. If a truck driver isn’t in control of himself or herself, he or she isn’t going to be in control of the vehicle, either.
Like other vehicles, semi trucks and tractor-trailers need to be properly maintained. Worn tires, tired brakes, and unmaintained engine components can all lead to malfunctions that can cause a truck driver to lose control. Parts that are defective coming off of the production line can lead to accidents as well. In these types of cases, there may be multiple parties responsible for your injuries.