COMMERCIAL TRUCKING ACCIDENTS

COMMERCIAL TRUCKING ACCIDENTS

A motor vehicle accident involving passenger vehicles can cause serious injuries to the occupants of the involved vehicles. However, when a tractor-trailer or other large truck is involved, the chance of suffering life-threatening, even fatal, injuries increases dramatically. We depend heavily on large trucks to transport supplies and merchandise throughout the country. Unfortunately, the presence of these mammoths of the roadway puts everyone else sharing the roadway at risk.

What are the common causes of commercial trucking accidents?

Most tractor-trailer drivers are conscientious and skilled drivers, However, that does not mean they cannot cause an accident. Most common causes of trucking accidents include:

  • Drowsy driving - despite federal rules limiting the number of hours a truck driver is allowed to legally remain behind the wheel without a rest period, some drivers ignore those rules in an effort to make tight delivery schedules or to earn more money. Often, this leads to drivers who continue to drive in spite of the fact that they are too tired to drive and should not be behind the wheel of an 80,000-pound vehicle.
  • Distracted driving - federal law also prohibits operators of large trucks from texting while driving. However, that does not always prevent drivers who have been away from their families and friends for days from trying to communicate via some type of electronic device. Drivers also routinely use GPS devices or even watch in-cab movies while driving - all of these can cause a driver to be distracted and cause an accident.
  • Speed/aggressive driving - it takes a semi-truck the length of a football field to come to a complete stop when driving at highway speeds. A driver who is driving too fast for road conditions, following too closely, or who is weaving in and out of traffic can easily cause a collision.
  • Impaired driving - although the use of illicit drugs among truck drivers has decreased over the past several decades, a new problem has emerged - prescription and over-the-counter medications. A driver who is impaired by any type of medication is a danger to everyone else on the roadway.
  • Equipment failure - truck drivers are required to perform a walk-around vehicle inspection every time they set off on a route. In addition, a full inspection is required on a regular basis to ensure that the vehicle is safe. Drivers and trucking companies, however, often put off these inspections in an effort to save time. Even a relatively small malfunction can have catastrophic results when the malfunction is on an 18-wheeler.