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 10 million large trucks registered in 2014. Every day, these vehicles haul cargo across the country, and their drivers are under increasing pressure to reach their destinations as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, this often means that corners are cut, limits are pushed, and mistakes are made. And when that happens, often the occupants of other vehicles on the road that are left to suffer the consequences.
Trucks were involved in over 3,400 fatal crashes and 82,000 injury crashes in 2014, 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 Truck Crashes?
We know that these truck accidents are a problem on our roads. In Illinois, there were over 12,200 crashes involving a large truck in 2014. 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. 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, drivers may push their physical limits and put everyone at risk.
- Maintenance issues. Drivers are required to inspect and maintain their vehicles regularly. When they fail to do so, drivers leave their vehicle vulnerable to dangerous defects that can cause serious accidents. Tire blowout, brake failure, transmission issues, dimmed or inoperable lights, and more can all be dangerous on the road.
- Driver error. Truck drivers are human, and they make mistakes. Often, however, these mistakes were easily avoidable had the 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 Crashes
While many accidents are caused by the negligence of drivers or trucking companies, all drivers should be cautious and abide by the laws of the road. Safety is the responsibility of all drivers.
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 to learn more and schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.