In the last few years, awareness of road safety issues has picked up. Lawmakers and governmental agencies like the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration or FMCSA have realized that truck accidents are causing one in ten deaths in the country.
Given that eighteen-wheel forty-ton semi rigs are only increasing in numbers, it is high time that we regulate and address safety concerns around them. Every other motorist is at threat no matter whether you are a car owner, motorcyclist, or a pedestrian.
Another dangerous statistic that points to the threat posed by trucks is the fact that while they comprise just 4% of the country’s total vehicular numbers, they account for 10% of all deaths! This is an alarming statistic that points out how important it is to ensure safety around them.
In this resource article, we list down some major reasons for truck accidents in the United States. We take help from a leading truck accident lawyer in Douglasville, GA that has been fighting cases and winning settlements on behalf of victims of truck accidents.
4 Major Reasons for Truck Accidents in the United States
1. Accidents committed due to Driver Mistakes and Errors
According to a leading report that was published by the FMCSA, errors committed by truck drivers are the leading cause of accidents. Let us look at the four major types of truck driver errors that lead to accidents-
- The driver might have simply dozed off because of exhaustion or they would have been incapacitated because of a heart attack.
- The driver was guilty of using his or her smartphone or watching something from the dashboard screen on the truck. Distracted driving can be a major source of accidents.
- The driver was engaging in reckless driving styles or overspeeding. They got guilty of being carried away when a fellow trucker cut them off or overtook them.
- The driver panicked because of adverse road conditions and exercised improper judgment. They either braked harder than they should have or drove away faster.
The study was conducted by examining an extended group of truckers totalling roughly 140,000. Whatever the reason may be, victims must practice their right to safety and get in touch with a truck accident attorney. For more information, visit the given link.
2. Accidents happening because of Poor Vehicular Condition
Trucks require heavy and regular maintenance to ensure that they are in proper working order. For example, given how heavy and large vehicles they are, the following parts need to be checked for at regular intervals-
- Regular maintenance of the truck’s braking capabilities needs to be checked. Attention should be paid to the brake pads, pistons, and rims.
- Carrying forty tons in weight means that the stress on the tires is humungous. Drivers need to monitor the tire pressure to make sure that blowouts do not happen.
- Mechanical Linkages between the trailer and the cabin need to be fastened carefully. The weight on the trailers can cause the mechanical linkage to rupture.
- Trucks have a very wide turning radius. This is why all the alert and hazard lights on the truck need to be working properly to warn and guard motorists.
Additionally, regular maintenance can also prevent damage to the transmission. Even if trucks break down at the side of the road, they present damage as other vehicles can simply ram into them.
3. Accidents taking place because of Unhealthy Working Priorities of Companies-
In studies that have been done by OSHA or Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the trucking companies are also to be blamed for accidents. They prioritize unrealistic client expectations, like record delivery timings and faster turnarounds.
- Trucking companies are infamous for making truckers work on tough schedules. This leads to driver fatigues and exhaustion, which in turn, leads to human error.
- Every vehicle has a set loading limit above which the entire apparatus becomes dangerous. To move heavier loads, these safety regulations are compromised.
- Large rigs need to be properly services or maintained. This requires a heavy expenditure on the part of trucking companies. This is why they tend to look the other way.
- Given the level of competition that exists in the industry, everyone keeps pushing their operations without thinking what will happen when it all comes apart under stress.
The need for faster turnaround times, along with additional costs, means that for trucking companies safety of their drivers or of others on the road, always takes a back seat.
4. Accidents occurring because of Substance Abuse and Intoxication-
There are several studies that have pointed out how issues of substance abuse are on the rise. Being on the road for weeks and months, truck drivers use alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs to pass their time. Alcoholism is a major cause of worry among truck drivers.
- Being intoxicated behind the wheel means that the reflexes of truck drivers are severely compromised. This prevents them from taking quick decisions on the roads.
- The presence of so many drinking houses out on public highways allows truck drivers to take a drink or two every time they stop for a break.
- Drug dealers find it easier to sell to truck drivers. They know that they possess little or no risks as they are always mobile. Access becomes easier for truck drivers.
It is important to ensure that there are regular tests that are done by trucking companies to ensure that the drivers are not intoxicated while being behind the wheels of a forty-ton vehicle!
How to Prevent Truck Accidents: An Assessment by Experts
In this section, we are going to list down some steps that can help prevent truck accidents on our roads-
- Firstly, trucking companies should be forced to follow humane guidelines for their drivers. Overscheduling, unrealistic turnaround times and other demands need to be stopped.
- Secondly, truck drivers should be forced to sign written bonds that should enumerate that they will not be taking intoxicants while driving. If they fail to adhere, their commercial driving license should be suspended.
- Thirdly, law enforcement officers should set up drug testing check-posts at intervals on the highway. Spot checking of truck drivers should be carried out. This will act as a deterrent to substance abuse.
- Fourthly, governmental bodies like the FMSCA should put in law service check intervals for trucks. Trucking companies would be required to ensure that after a set number of miles or time, the vehicles are checking in for service and maintenance.
The Final Word
Truck accidents are far more severe in impact as compared to other vehicular accidents. The nature of the injuries sustained after being involved in one is always serious and life-threatening. In this article, we have attempted to explain in detail some of the major reasons for truck accidents in the United States. If you have any other doubts you would like us to address, please let us know in the comments section below.