Truck accidents have a greater impact on crash victims due to the size of the vehicle, so driving around them can be intimidating.
Crash statistics from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) indicate that large trucks caused 104,000 crashes that led to injuries and nearly 4,000 fatal accidents. These crashes are most likely to occur in rural areas and on interstate highways, and they often happen between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m.
Why do these accidents happen? Often they are the result of a commercial vehicle error. Here are five common reasons for a truck accident.
1. Driver error
Truck drivers are no different than any other motorist – they make mistakes. Some of the most common reasons truck drivers fail to drive properly are:
- Drowsy driving
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Distracted driving
- Reckless driving
While passenger vehicles also cause many truck accidents, defensive driving needs to improve among commercial vehicle operators.
2. Vehicle maintenance
Commercial vehicles experience a lot of wear and tear by the nature of their use. If a trucking company doesn’t perform regular maintenance on their vehicles, it can lead to equipment failure that causes a major and potentially fatal accident.
3. Other equipment failure
An equipment manufacturer is sometimes negligent in a truck accident if they produce a dangerous or defective product. It is possible that a parts manufacturer, truck manufacturer, installer/mechanic or the company that sold the truck is liable for a truck accident.
4. Poor weather
Again, just like any other driver, truck drivers are not immune to weather-related accidents. This time of year is especially dangerous with increased snow and ice on the roads, due to the heavy weight of the vehicle and the slower stopping speeds.
5. Improper cargo loading
If truck drivers and cargo loaders don’t abide by industry-specific rules of loading a truck bed, it can lead cargo to fall off and cause an accident. The rules they need to follow limit the weight, size, length, width and height of a load, as well as providing special guidance for securing items.
Most of these causes are out of a passenger vehicle driver’s control, but it’s important to know how truck drivers find themselves in situations that cause an accident. By staying aware of trucks on the road and keeping safe distances, passenger drivers can hopefully reduce their risk of crashing with a commercial vehicle.