Truck accidents are unfortunately a common occurrence on our roads, leading to devastating consequences for those involved. Understanding the reasons behind these accidents can help in generating awareness and enforcing better regulations for truck drivers to enhance safety on the roads.
Speeding and Aggressive Driving
Speeding is a major cause of truck accidents, as high speeds can make it difficult for a truck driver to maintain control of the vehicle. The large size and weight of trucks mean that they require more time and distance to slow down or stop, so speed limits are particularly important for drivers to obey.
In addition to speeding, aggressive driving is another leading cause of truck accidents. Aggressive driving can include a range of behaviors, such as:
- Weaving in and out of traffic lanes
- Ignoring traffic signals, signs, and rules
Lack of Training
Lack of proper training is another significant cause of truck accidents. According to The Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations, truck drivers need to undergo very specific training to obtain a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Unfortunately, some trucking companies do not prioritize driver training in a bid to maximize profits, leading to inexperienced and poorly skilled drivers on the road.
Texting, talking on the phone, eating, and other distractions while driving are against the law and can be extremely dangerous, particularly when operating a large commercial vehicle. Distracted driving can lead to delayed reaction times, impaired judgment, and loss of control over the vehicle.
According to the FMCSA, distracted-driving regulations explicitly ban texting and limit the use of mobile phones for commercial drivers:
“CMV drivers are prohibited from texting while driving. So what qualifies as texting? Texting means manually entering alphanumeric text into, or reading text from, an electronic device. This includes, but is not limited to, short message service, e-mailing, instant messaging, a command or request to access a Web page, or pressing more than a single button to initiate or terminate a voice communication using a mobile phone or engaging in any other form of electronic text retrieval or entry, for present or future communication.”
However, these regulations are still often violated, leading to devastating accidents that could have been avoided.
Overloading or Improper Loading of Cargo
Trucks are designed to transport substantial amounts of cargo. However, there are strict weight and size limits to ensure the safety of both the driver and other motorists. Overloading a truck can cause issues like tire blowouts, brake failures, and loss of control when steering.
Additionally, improper loading of cargo can lead to shifting and imbalance during transportation, which increases the risk of rollovers and accidents. The FMCSA mandates strict cargo securement regulations to ensure that cargo is safely and properly loaded.
Unfortunately, some trucking companies and drivers may ignore these regulations in order to maximize profit or meet tight deadlines. Such disregard for the rules can result in serious accidents and even fatalities.
Issues with Truck Maintenance
Inadequate truck maintenance can lead to mechanical failures, which in turn may cause accidents. For example, poorly maintained brakes and worn-out tires can significantly impact a truck’s ability to stop in time, particularly in emergency situations. There are regulations in place that require trucks to undergo regular inspections and maintenance, but some drivers and trucking companies may cut corners to save time or money.
This negligence can result in accidents, often with devastating consequences for other motorists and pedestrians on the road. It is crucial that trucking companies and drivers adhere to maintenance requirements to help prevent accidents caused by mechanical failure.
Driver Fatigue – Hours of Service Violations
The FMCSA has instituted regulations regarding hours of service regulations to dictate the amount of time commercial drivers may operate their vehicles. The primary goal of these regulations is to reduce the likelihood of driver fatigue and ensure the safety of truck drivers and all other road users. Some key provisions of the hours of service regulations include:
“11-hour driving limit: May drive a maximum of 11 hours after 10 consecutive hours off duty.
14-hour limit: May not drive beyond the 14th consecutive hour after coming on duty, following 10 consecutive hours off duty. Off-duty time does not extend the 14-hour period.
30-minute driving break: Drivers must take a 30-minute break when they have driven for a period of 8 cumulative hours without at least a 30-minute interruption. The break may be satisfied by any non-driving period of 30 consecutive minutes (i.e., on-duty not driving, off-duty, sleeper berth, or any combination of these taken consecutively).
Truck accidents are often catastrophic, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake. If you’ve experienced one and need help, contact us to schedule a free consultation.