The Factors Involved in Most Semi, 18-Wheeler, Tractor-Trailer and Big Rig Collisions
More than one in every ten registered vehicles on the nation’s roadways is a large commercial truck (12.5%). By law, those behemoths can carry up to 80,000 pounds—as a consequence, when they are involved in any type of accident, the outcome is often catastrophic. In 2021 alone, commercial truck accidents accounted for more than 4,100 deaths on American highways.
Even though federal and state officials know about the dangers associated with large commercial trucks, many truckers and trucking companies regularly engage in actions that pose unnecessary risk to other motorists. Let’s look at the most common causes of truck accidents:
- Distracted driving—It’s not the CB radio anymore—it’s handheld devices, such as smartphones or tablets and it’s the radio, a passenger or a roadside attraction/distraction. A 2009 study concluded that nearly three of every four commercial truck accidents resulted from distracted driving. It’s likely, as the use of handheld devices has skyrocketed, that the percentages may be even higher now.
- Driver fatigue—Most drivers are paid by the load…the more they haul, the more they get paid. Of course, that’s an incentive to spend a lot of hours behind the wheel. State and federal regulators understand this motivation and established limits on the amount of time commercial operators can spend on the road. Drivers are required to submit logs showing compliance with these regulations, but they are often falsified.
- Substance abuse—Many of those drivers who spend too much time on the road use controlled substances to keep them awake. In addition, it’s not uncommon for a commercial truck driver to be on the road while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Many states have lower BAC requirements for persons with commercial drivers licenses, but that doesn’t stop them from driving while intoxicated.
- Unsafe vehicles—Commercial truck drivers are also required to keep maintenance logs, but those are often fudged as well. These massive vehicles are exposed to a lot of wear and tear—tires, brakes and other essential components need regular attention.
- Careless or negligent loading of a truck—This may involve exceeding the state or federal limit for a load, or it can involve carelessness in arranging the load, so that it’s unbalanced and increases the difficulties in handling the tractor and trailer.
- Negligence in hiring, monitoring or training—With the demands for drivers, many trucking companies don’t take the necessary steps to ensure that new drivers have the skills to safely haul a large load.
- Lack of familiarity with the roads—Drivers who are traveling along new or unfamiliar roads may be unaware of road conditions that require special attention. Often, a driver may find himself on a roadway too narrow to accommodate the big rig.
Contact the Aggressive Truck Accident Injury Attorneys at Bailey & Galyen
At the law offices of Bailey & Galyen, we understand how a truck accident can change your life in an instant. We’ll be your advocate throughout the legal process, helping you take the right steps to get full and fair compensation for all your losses. We can be your liaison with insurance companies as well, so that you get all the benefits to which you are entitled. Contact us by e-mail or 844-402-2992 call our offices at one of the convenient locations listed below. Our phones are answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.