Any type of auto accident can cause serious injury and even death, but those involving large trucks can be particularly devastating. Due to the sheer size and weight of a large truck (in excess of 10,000 pounds), accidents are far more likely to involve multiple car collisions and result in death.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released a report in 2007 that highlighted the most common causes of truck accidents. The “Large Truck Causation Study” report is the first of its kind to examine the wide scope of factors that contribute to large commercial truck accidents. Using a nationwide sample of 967 crashes, researchers concluded that certain circumstances are most prevalent in truck accidents. Below is a list of the most common trucking accident causes, and their corresponding level of risk.
Drugs #1 Cause of Large Truck Accidents
- Although many believe fatigued driving to be the number one cause of truck accidents, it is actually drug use. This includes both prescription and illicit drugs. In fact, in 26 percent of trucking accidents, prescription drugs or “street drugs” are involved. Both categories can result in a significantly reduced reaction time. Over-the-counter-medications contribute to accidents as well.
- Excessive speed is involved in 23 percent of large truck crashes. With each increased mile of speed, the force of impact from a 50,000-pound truck is more likely to result in fatality.
- Inadequate training is a serious problem in the trucking industry. New drivers often don’t have the experience and training necessary to safely operate a tractor-trailer, but ongoing training is just as important for more seasoned drivers. For example, although drivers are trained to check blind spots carefully prior to changing lanes or making turns, many forget this training over time. In 14 percent of the accidents studied, failure to check blind spots was involved.
- Although driver fatigue isn’t as high on the list as many expect, it still accounts for 13 percent of large truck accidents. Unfortunately, we live in a society that places significant importance on material possessions. Trucks are required to transport these material goods from manufacturer to distributor, and time is money. Trucking companies make more money when goods are delivered on time. For this reason, it is not uncommon for truck drivers to work excessively long hours. New Hours-of-Service Rules limit the amount of hours a truck driver can be on the road during one shift, however, the limit is still set at 11 hours. Driving for 11 hours straight after not getting enough rest can result in a very tired driver.
- Distracted driving is not only a problem for drivers of passenger vehicles. Texting, talking on a cell phone, eating, drinking, and adjusting the radio station are all forms of distracted driving. Although losing focus on the road is dangerous for any driver, it is especially dangerous for someone driving an 80,000 pound truck. Distractions can be outside of the truck as well, such as accidents and road work.
- While the vast majority of truck drivers are well trained and utilize safe driving skills, there are exceptions to this rule. To protect yourself and your loved ones from an accident involving a large truck, always drive defensively. Leave ample distance between your car and the truck in front of you or beside you. Don’t drive while distracted. Put your cell phone in the glove box, and only text or call if you have pulled over at a safe location.
Altman & Atlman, LLC – Boston’s Trucking Accident Attorneys
If you’ve been injured in an accident involving a large truck, it’s in your best interest to contact an experienced accident and injury attorney immediately. Trucking accidents can be especially complicated because there are multiple players, including the driver, owner, trucking company, and parts manufacturers. Any or all of these parties may be liable for your injuries. At Altman & Altman, LLC, we have nearly 50 years of experience protecting the rights of accident victims in MA. Our skilled, dedicated legal team will work hard to get you the compensation you deserve for medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages. Contact us today for a free consultation about your case.