Nearly 650 people lost their lives in Texas truck accidents throughout 2017, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The highest total in any year dating back to 2007. When truck accidents are not fatal, the damage can still be devastating, and victims are often left with serious or life-changing injuries. Unfortunately, most of these crashes are preventable.
Leading Causes of Truck Crashes
Understanding the most common causes of truck accidents may help avoid some of these tragedies in the future.
Distracted driving is a serious issue among drivers of all vehicles, but the results can be catastrophic when a truck driver is not paying attention. Common forms of distractions include texting or talking on a cell phone, drinking, and eating.
Truck Driver Impatience or Road Rage
Truck drivers are under an enormous amount of pressure to meet certain deadlines, which can result in impatience or anger when on the road. The NHTSA revealed that almost a third of all driver error-caused accidents can involve behaviors from road rage. When a trucker is driving too aggressively, other drivers should not take retaliatory action as it will only increase the probability of an accident.
A person’s driving abilities can adversely be impaired when they are not getting an adequate amount of sleep. Truck drivers work long hours and don’t have a reliable sleep schedule. Although there are federal laws that dictate how many hours a trucker can be on the road, it doesn’t guarantee they will adhere to them if they are trying to meet a deadline.
Going over the speed limit dramatically decreases a truck driver’s chances of reacting to any unforeseen elements on the road. Other dangerous behaviors include: sudden lane changes, failing to signal, or failing to account for traffic.
Poor Weather Conditions
When a truck driver fails to adjust to climate and road conditions, it often leads to poor visibility, and they may encounter cross-winds or wet driving surfaces. All of which significantly reduces their ability to control the vehicle.
Driving Under the Influence
Many truck drivers resort to stimulant drugs out of boredom or to stay awake. Truckers actually have the highest rate of alcohol and drug abuse among other drivers. Driving under the influence clouds judgement and can compel a driver to take unnecessary risks.
Poor Maintenance or Manufacturing Defects
Trucks must be kept in good condition, as required by law. However, proper maintenance can be expensive and many truck owners or companies are not willing to spend the money to do it right. Defects, on the other hand, originate from the manufacturer and can be, for example, a mistake in the design of a part. If a vital part, such as an axle, tire, or wiring fails, the truck driver may lose control.
Preventing Truck Accidents
If both the truck driver and other road users take necessary safety precautions, most truck accidents are avoidable. For example, drivers of other vehicles on the road can drive defensively by:
- Using turn signals to give truck drivers ample time to react and make adjustments to your intentions.
- Avoiding driving in blind spots. Tractor-trailers have large blind spots which smaller vehicles should be aware of. These are often located at the rear, the side, and the connection between the truck and the trailer.
- Keeping your distance. It is difficult to judge a truck’s braking distance when you are tailgating. Vehicles traveling behind a truck should give an ample distance of around 20 to 25 car lengths, especially when driving uphill.
Speak to an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney
When you are injured in a truck accident caused by negligence, you must take immediate action in order to hold the driver and the trucking company accountable. Contact the Milano Legal Group PLLC today, and get started with a free and confidential consultation.