4 Common and Risky Behaviors That Cause Semi-Truck Accidents
It’s hard to drive down any major roadway in America and not share the road with a commercial truck at some point in your travels. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there were over 12 million large trucks registered in 2016.
Every day, these commercial vehicles haul cargo across the country, and their drivers are under increasing pressure to reach their destinations as quickly as possible. It doesn’t help that truck drivers are often paid by the mile, not by the hour.
Unfortunately, this often means that corners are cut, limits are pushed, and mistakes are made. And when that happens, other drivers and passengers going about their day as usual on the road are left to suffer the consequences.
Trucks were involved in over 4,000 fatal crashes and 100,000 injury crashes in 2016, the most recent year data was available. In each of these accidents, victims were left to face difficult physical and emotional recoveries, mounting medical bills, and the stress of an uncertain future.
What Causes These Serious Accidents Involving Semi-Trucks?
We know that these truck accidents are a problem on our roads. In Illinois, there were over 11,000 crashes involving a large truck in 2017. What is causing these crashes? The answer includes a wide variety of factors, both human and mechanical. The most common causes include:
- Fatigue. Recently, more attention has been paid to the issue of drowsy drivers, including those that drive big rigs. Many experts compare the effects of drowsy driving to those of drunk driving, with drivers less capable of focus, good decision-making, and awareness of surroundings. Under pressure to arrive at their destination quickly, truck drivers may push their physical limits and put everyone at risk
- Maintenance issues. Truck drivers are required to inspect and maintain their vehicles regularly. When they fail to do so, drivers leave their commercial vehicles vulnerable to dangerous defects that can cause serious (and sometimes deadly) accidents. Tire blowout, brake failure, transmission issues, dimmed or inoperable lights, and more can all be dangerous for anyone sharing the road with commerical vehicles.
- Driver error. Truck drivers are human, and they make mistakes. Often, however, these mistakes were easily avoidable had the company driver taken a reasonable amount of care behind the wheel. Speeding, texting, talking on the phone, use of alcohol or drugs, and other poor decisions can leave other suffering significant consequences.
- Trucking company irresponsibility. Currently, the United States is facing a truck driver shortage. Trucking companies are in desperate need of employees, which may lead them to cut corners when it comes to training or hiring drivers. Driving a commercial truck is much different than operating a passenger car. Drivers should have the proper experience and training to understand how to manage these vehicles safely. Additionally, those with a history of poor driving, accidents, and impaired driving should not be allowed behind the wheel of heavy trucks.
All Drivers Should Take Care to Avoid Truck Accidents
While many accidents are caused by the negligence of truck drivers or trucking companies, all drivers should be cautious and abide by the laws of the road. Safety is the responsibility of all drivers in the United States.
Unfortunately, when others disregard this duty, serious accidents can happen. If you or someone you love has suffered injuries in a truck accident in Illinois, the experienced attorneys at the Shannon Law Group, P.C., may be able to help. Call us today at 312-578-9501 to learn more and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.
Not ready to chat just yet? Consider downloading our free e-book on transportation and auto accident law, or browse our related articles listed below.