Commercial trucks present unique risks to motorists and passengers in smaller vehicles. Tractor trailer operators must be aware of the risks associated with their large vehicles and drivers of passenger vehicles must be cautious when sharing the road with trucks. Small mistakes and errors can lead to injuries and fatalities. Even the most skilled and patient truck drivers can cause or contribute to accidents due to the risks associated with the weight and size of their vehicles. Common causes of truck accidents are discussed below.
1. Driver fatigue
Truck drivers tend to cover thousands of miles in a few days. Many of them are paid by the mile, which causes some to drive longer distances in shorter durations of time. Even though federal regulations limit driving time and mandate breaks, truckers sometimes break these rules or are pressured to ignore them by the trucking company that employs them. Prolonged driving and lack of rest can result in fatigue and cause accidents.
2. Distracted driving
While distracted driving is something that should be avoided by anyone who gets behind the wheel of a vehicle, truck drivers may have a unique susceptibility to this bad habit. Tedious and long hours on the road can cause them to seek forms of distraction and entertainment. They may use cellphones, fiddle with radio controls, eat or drink while driving.
3. Inexperienced drivers
Inadequate training can sometimes contribute to truck accidents. Trucking companies may rush new employees through training courses to get more tractor trailers on the road and get more work done. If a truck driver is inexperienced in safety concerns, driving technique or defensive driving, they present a danger to everyone around them.
4. Drug use
It is illegal for truck drivers to use controlled substances except when they are prescribed by a doctor who determines the side effects will not affect the assigned duties and responsibilities associated with operating a commercial truck. Trucking companies are required by federal regulations to perform drug tests prior to employment and test drivers periodically.
This is a glimpse into the many possible causes of truck accidents. There are several other driver errors and equipment problems that can cause personal injury to motorists. Victims of truck accidents may be able to receive compensation for their injuries. Due to the complex nature of the trucking industry it is important for personal injury victims to understand their legal rights. Contacting a personal injury attorney is the first step for victims who want to understand the strength of their case and learn about potential compensation.