Before you can become a certified commercial truck driver, there is a specific regimen of training you must fulfill. Even after gaining these credentials, truck drivers must follow standard safety precautions in the operation of these large and heavy vehicles.
Trucks that contain cargo, especially cargo that is hazardous, can make an ordinary accident into something much more serious. For the truck driver, there is a lot to consider in terms of safety. However, drivers of passenger vehicles must also understand how to share the road properly with larger trucks in order to avoid accidents.
Truck accidents caused by truck drivers can often be traced to:
- Truck driver fatigue. Commercial truck drivers, according to federal regulations, are limited as to the number of hours they can drive prior to a break or require a certain number of hours of sleep/rest. The routes that these drivers follow are often hundreds, and sometimes thousands of miles in length, and these distances can drain even the most talented and experienced drivers if they do not get the proper amount of rest in advance.
- Distracted driving. Driving long distances, and often in remote areas of the country, can lead drivers toward entertaining certain distractions from their focus on the road exclusively. One major source of distractions while driving is operating a mobile device at the wheel. This may include texting, talking, or even using a GPS system while speeding down the highway. Even a small distraction that takes the driver’s eyes off the road can place themselves and others in jeopardy.
- Seasonal elements. Commercial truck accidents always have the potential to occur due to seasonal elements such as snow or ice, making it difficult for large trucks to brake in time to prevent a collision. As well, heavy fog conditions can inhibit the ability of a truck driver to see sufficiently down the road to avoid a devastating multi-vehicle accident.
- Improper maintenance. Proper upkeep and maintenance of trucking vehicles are the responsibility of trucking companies. All repair and maintenance work should be documented by the company. If equipment such as brakes or tires fail due to improper maintenance, and someone is injured as a result, the company may be held liable for damages.
- Speeding. Speeding on the part of truck drivers can put themselves and occupants of other vehicles in danger. Heavy trucks and big rigs can sometimes weigh as much as 20 times more than a standard passenger vehicle. Speeding in order to meet timelines can result in disaster.
- Reckless driving practices. Truck drivers span long distances, even thousands of miles per week, and these long stretches can become monotonous and test the ability of drivers to maintain safe driving practices for the entire route. Some additional unsafe truck driving practices include:
- Failure to check blind spots
- Following behind vehicles too closely
- Failure to use turn signals
- Changing lanes too frequently
- Road rage
- Drunk driving
Additional causes of truck accidents on the part of truckers include:
- Overloading the truck
- Failure to obtain proper training
- Poor weather or road conditions
- Road construction
- Inexperience driving a truck
- Unfamiliarity with routes or roadways
Truck accidents caused by passenger vehicle drivers
Passenger vehicle drivers are often responsible for traffic crashes involving large commercial trucks and big rigs. A driver of a passenger car must understand the limitations that a large commercial truck has in terms of breaking, acceleration, and visibility.
Some of the unsafe driving practices committed by drivers of cars as they share the road with large trucks, and which often result in trucking accidents, include:
- Performing an abrupt lane change in front of a truck
- Failure to properly merge into traffic, causing a truck to suddenly brake or maneuver
- Driving in a truck’s “no zone”, i.e. areas beside or behind a commercial truck in which the truck driver has zero or limited visibility
- Unsafe passing
- Driving in between large commercial trucks
- Pulling out in front of a big truck from the roadside without ample acceleration
- Miscalculating the approaching speed of a truck at an intersection, and making an ill-timed left turn in front of the oncoming truck
- Maneuvering to the right of a large truck that is attempting to make a right turn
- Failure to adjust by slowing down or speeding up when a large truck starts to merge or change lanes
A trucking accident can have a devastating impact upon many people. If you or a loved one has been involved in a truck collision and suffered injuries as a result, you may have a legitimate claim for compensation. Our trucking accident attorneys at Yeboah Law Group are here to support you through this challenging time. Let’s review your case together. To set up a free consultation, call us at 1-800-TELL-SAM or complete our contact form.