Top Causes of Truck Accidents
Statistics for Commercial Truck Collisions
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there are approximately 3.5 million commercial trucks in the U.S., and each year, some 5,000 individuals are killed and 130,000 more are injured in truck wrecks. An 80,000-pound tractor-trailer colliding with a passenger vehicle often causes catastrophic and even fatal results, inflicting terrible physical, emotional, and financial hardships on victims and their families. The causes of truck wrecks can vary greatly, and if you or a loved one have been injured, it is important to find a personal injury lawyer with the skill and experience necessary to handle these complex cases.
Wrecks Caused by Commercial Truck Drivers
Prospective truck drivers are required to undergo specific training to earn a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and other certification. Even after receiving those credentials, drivers must use extreme precaution on the road due to the size and weight of tractor-trailers, as well as comply with Hours of Service and vehicle maintenance regulations set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).
Here are some of the most common causes of truck wrecks by commercial drivers:
Being Overworked or Fatigued
The FMCSA restricts the number of hours a commercial driver can log per week, with a maximum limit of 11 driving hours for truckers carrying cargo after 10 consecutive hours off duty. These regulations help ensure that drivers get an adequate amount of sleep or rest in order to remain alert on the road. Some scheduled routes, however, entail hundreds or thousands of miles, which can wear down even the most experienced driver.
Inadequate Vehicle Maintenance
Trucking companies are responsible for maintaining adequate operating conditions for their vehicles and equipment, including brakes, steering, lighting, tires, horn, and other important safety features. Those companies must keep detailed documentation related to inspections and maintenance, and they may be held liable if faulty equipment is found to have led to a collision. Equipment failure can include such a wide range of malfunctions as defective brakes, broken lighting, worn tires, and much more.
Inclement Weather or Poor Road Conditions
Truck drivers regularly confront many hazardous conditions on their routes. Weather elements such as rain, snow, ice, and sleet, as well as poorly maintained roads and a number of other factors can cause dangerous problems for large trucks, ranging from reduced braking ability to dramatic shifts in traffic patterns.
When facing long stretches of driving, sparse traffic, and unusual hours, drivers can easily be tempted into diverting their attention away from the road and to a variety of distractions, including eating and drinking, grooming, reading, adjusting the radio, and using mobile devices.
Talking and texting on a cell phone while driving is especially dangerous. Texting while driving is prohibited nationwide for commercial vehicle drivers, and most states have imposed full or partial bans on using mobile devices while driving.
Unsafe Driving Practices
Even with proper training, commercial vehicle drivers can still demonstrate unsafe behavior on the road. Some of these hazards include:
- Failing to check blind spots
- Failing to use turn signals
- Changing lanes too frequently
- Driving under the influence
- Road rage
How to Find a Personal Injury Lawyer
If you have been involved in a truck collision, finding the right personal injury lawyer can save you money, time, and stress. Your attorney should have a proven record for handling complex truck collision cases and the ability and resources to fully investigate and try your case.
Zinda Law Group has built a reputation for securing successful outcomes for clients involved in commercial truck collisions. Our experienced team will not only serve as your personal advocate but also show care and compassion to you throughout the legal process and beyond. If you have sustained an injury in a truck collision, call 800-863-5312 for a free consultation about your case.