While truck drivers are required to exercise reasonable care not to injure other drivers, trucks are hard to navigate because of their weight and length. For this reason, it is not uncommon for accidents to occur, often with devastating consequences for the driver and passengers in a smaller vehicle. Let’s take a look at the common causes of truck accidents.
While state and federal laws require trucks to be properly maintained and routinely inspected, accidents often occur because vehicle parts and components such as braking systems, brake lights, engines, tires and trailers are not adequately maintained. A trucking company that fails to adhere to vehicle maintenance laws can be held liable in the event of an accident.
In addition to maintenance requirements, there are state and federal rules that limit the number of hours truckers can drive and that also require rest breaks. However, truckers are often faced with strict delivery deadlines and are forced to cover vast distances. This often results in driver fatigue that can lead to lane drifting, diminished depth perception and even falling asleep at the wheel. A driver who violates hourly driving limits can be found legally responsible for an accident.
Truckers are also susceptible to becoming distracted due to the rigors of the road and their lengthy work schedules. Even if they are well rested, truck drivers can be distracted by tuning the radio, monitoring a GPS system or eating and drinking. The leading cause of distracted driving is cell phone use, however, drivers are prohibited from using mobile devices for talking or texting.
Lack of Training
While new drivers are often paid by trucking companies to complete truck driving courses, they are often quickly put on the road. This is because truckers are typically paid per mile, and less experienced drivers are paid less than experienced truckers. In short, new drivers are more likely to cause accidents because they lack the skills required to maneuver these large vehicles safely.
While there are state and federal laws that limit the weight of cargo that trucks can carry, improper loading can also cause accidents. If the cargo is not evenly distributed on the truck or trailer, the vehicle can roll over or jack-knife, with deadly consequences.
Because driving a motor vehicle often means sharing the road with trucks and tractor-trailers, drivers should be careful, particularly when driving alongside or passing a truck. In the end, an accident that occurs due to the negligence of the trucker or a trucking company is grounds for a personal injury lawsuit.