Trucking can be a fun career, but it can also be a dangerous one. Large trucks will do more damage if their drivers make a mistake, and the industry often makes headlines for teamsters who drive sleepy or otherwise impaired. While some common causes of these incidents involve smaller vehicle recklessness, the actions of truck drivers often play a role, too. Here are some of the most common causes of truck accidents to understand and watch for:
- Driver error. Humans make mistakes, and when your job involves driving on the roads for hours at a time, the likelihood of making a mistake increases. However, professional companies train drivers to understand and avoid the common causes of driver error accidents. Companies often eliminate some of them, for example, by restricting cell phone use on the road and taking other measures to lower the risk of distraction.
- Equipment failure. Drivers need to carefully and regularly maintain trucks that spend day in and day out on the roadways. Professional drivers are responsible for running through checklists before and after they get on the road each day. Faulty parts and improperly maintained equipment are common causes of many accidents. Tire blowouts and other debris flying out from a truck can have deadly consequences for vehicles following behind.
- Lack of sleep. Like airline pilots, truckers are expected to maintain strict schedules to move their cargo. While federal and state regulations have reduced the amount of time a driver can travel on the roads continuously, some still experience a lack of sleep from tight schedules. Driving while tired is a form of impairment that can cause accidents just as easily as driving while intoxicated. Some research has even suggested that driving while tired is more dangerous than driving under the influence.
- Bad weather. Once again, those tight deadlines can present problems for truck drivers. If they continue to drive in dangerous conditions, they may face reduced visibility and traction and truck instability – all of which can contribute to a dangerous accident. Since large trucks take significantly longer to come to a stop than regular vehicles, truckers must drive carefully in inclement weather to avoid causing a multi-vehicle accident or sliding off a bridge/road.
- Poor loading. Semi trucks need balance to navigate the roadways properly. If a load is improperly distributed in the trailer, it can cause fishtailing and turnover accidents on the roadways. Every truck needs to follow a certain loading standard developed specifically to minimize imbalances in the trailer.
- Drugs and alcohol. You’ll notice that drugs and alcohol are pretty far down on the list. Professional truckers who work for large companies have to follow strict guidelines regarding drugs and alcohol. Some are regularly tested, and many companies have a zero tolerance policy. A trucker who gets caught drinking once may find him or herself out of a job and without a good referral or recommendation to go to a different company.
The size of trucks can make small errors turn into deadly accidents. Technology is helping trucking companies overcome some of the common causes of accidents with advanced systems and enforcement requirements, but we’re still a long way from foolproof safety measures. In the meantime, give trucks plenty of extra space on the roadways to avoid the consequences of their mistakes.
If you’re involved in a trucking accident in or around Dallas, The Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert can help you hold negligent drivers responsible for their actions. When teamsters fail to operate their large equipment in a reasonably safe manner, you can hold them and their companies liable for the damage caused. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.