Tractor-trailers, also called 18-wheelers and big rigs, are frequently involved in accidents. And an accident with a large truck often results in serious injuries or death. Due to the nature of the business, trucks are on the road for longer hours than other vehicles. During the consumer-driven holiday season, they often clock more hours than normal. All motor vehicle accidents can be deadly, but those involving large trucks are typically more serious due to their massive size and weight. To avoid being involved in a deadly accident with a large truck, learn about the most common causes of tractor-trailer accidents. Contact a Boston personal injury lawyer today if you’ve been injured in a trucking accident.
Three Most Common Causes of Tractor-Trailer Accidents
- Distracted driving: The risk of distracted driving isn’t exclusive to truck drivers. With today’s technology, millions of drivers, from teens to the elderly, engage in texting or talking while driving at least occasionally. Although distracted driving is always dangerous, it’s especially so when operating an 80,000 pound vehicle. To avoid being injured in an accident involving a distracted truck driver, always drive defensively.
- Fatigued driving: Due to the nature of the business, truck drivers are often expected to drive for hours on end to meet delivery requirements. Although the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has implemented “hours of service” rules to limit the number of consecutive hours a truck driver can be behind the wheel, excessively long shifts are still a problem. Sometimes, drivers or trucking companies lie in their driving logs. Other times, even the capped hours are too long for that particular driver. Fatigued driving and driver exhaustion are a very real problem. Again, defensive driving is key. Fatigued driving can be a problem at any hour of the day, but it’s most prevalent late at night or in the early morning hours.
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol: For some truck drivers, the open road is a lonely place to be. Many truckers spend 60 to 80 hours behind the wheel every week. In addition to prescription medications for everything from depression to anxiety, more and more truck drivers are turning to illicit drugs to help them deal. Some truckers use drugs such as speed or cocaine to keep them from falling asleep during long shifts. Let’s be clear – the vast majority of truck drivers do not engage in these types of behaviors. However, it has become enough of a problem in recent years that it’s worth discussing. According to experts, there are about 200,000 truck drivers with substance abuse problems on the road today. Recent studies revealed that more than 12 percent of truck drivers tested positive for alcohol abuse and eight percent of truckers use amphetamines while driving.