Semi-truck accidents are often fatal. According to the IIHS and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s reporting system, a total of 4,136 people died in large truck crashes in 2018. The majority, 67%, of those crashes were occupants of cars and other passenger vehicles.
With sobering statistics like these, we ask the question: are we doing enough? Even with strict regulations governing trucking companies and their drivers, can these companies still improve the safety of semi trucks while on the road?
Understanding the Common Causes of Trucking Accidents
Just like any other accident, there are many causes of trucking accidents. Yet, they typically involve a semi driver or trucking company taking a risk. Some of the most common causes of trucking accidents include:
- Driver fatigue
- Drug use to combat fatigue
- Weight imbalances and overload
- Faulty maintenance
- Negligent hiring
- Defective truck equipment
How Can Trucking Companies Improve Semi Truck Safety?
With these common causes in mind, there are a few things most trucking companies can pay attention to when attempting to improve the safety of their trucks.
Proper Hiring & Training
Drivers must obtain a CDL which includes passing an exam. Yet, sometimes the training involved prior to the exam isn’t enough for safe semi operation. Although a candidate might have a CDL, it’s up to the trucking company to ensure the driver is competent in operation requirements such as:
- Properly loading and correcting load balance
- Shifting more than 20 gears at a time
- Using multiple switches and knobs for proper operation
Companies must hire competent drivers and ensure they understand how to operate the vehicle safely, even if that means investing in the proper training for each new hire.
Following Strict Drive Time Procedures
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the hours-of-service regulations, drivers are only allowed to drive up to 11 consecutive hours after being off duty for 10 or more consecutive hours. This limit was set to help combat driver fatigue, a huge factor in many accidents.
Companies must take it upon themselves to ensure drivers meticulously record their drive time. They should also take the proper steps to ensure both new and existing drivers understand and follow these requirements.
Prioritizing Truck & Equipment Maintenance
Fatal accidents sometimes occur due to preventable equipment failure. Trucking companies must take the time to prioritize proper truck and equipment maintenance. Companies should schedule regular preventative maintenance and encourage drivers to inspect their trucks before they get out on the road.
Hurt in a Trucking Accident? Call Ted B. Lyon & Associates Today.
Have you been hurt in an accident involving a semi truck? These cases are complex and require professional help. Reach out to the attorneys at Ted B. Lyon & Associates today by calling 800-TedLyon or sending us a message.