Common Truck Accident Causes
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), you are three times more likely to be in a car crash if you are fatigued. Because truck drivers often go several hundred miles a day with few stops to rest, they are more likely to suffer from fatigue compared to other drivers.
Signs of driver fatigue may include:
- Frequent yawning
- Inability to keep eyes open
- Having trouble keeping your head up while driving (“nodding off”)
- Difficulty remembering the last few miles you drove
- Missing road signs or turns you need to make to get to your destination
- Difficulty maintaining the correct speed
- Drifting out of your lane to either side
Taking plenty of breaks and get enough sleep is integral, so if you notice a truck driver doing any of these things on the road, stay as far away as possible and call the police. You may just safe your life, their life, and the lives of other drivers.
Driver Alcohol/Drug Use
While most of us likely hope that professional semi truck drivers play it safe on the roads and avoid taking substances that might impair their driving, it can happen.
Accidents as a result of impaired driving can lead to both criminal and civil penalties, and truck drivers are likely to lose their jobs as a result of making the mistake of getting behind the wheel of a big rig while impaired.
As with seeing a driver who looks visibly tired or is driving erratically, if you see someone on the road behind the wheel of a commercial truck acting suspiciously, call the police.
Poor Driver Training
A driver’s ability to react quickly and practice defensive driving often boils down to their past training. Unfortunately, that can mean that, should they lack the adequate training necessary to operate their truck, the possibility of an accident increases.
Most licensed trucking companies require certain licensing in order for their employees to operate their vehicles. Continuing education courses and training can also help them avoid accidents and reduce hazards.
Most trucks have numbers on the back of them that you can call to report unsafe behavior, so if you have already called and reported someone driving unsafely, you may also be able to call the number on their truck. Be sure to have their license plate number ready if you were able to get it in a safe way on the road, such as pulling over to write it down or having a passenger in your vehicle write down the information for you.
Poor Truck Maintenance
The state of the truck can be a linchpin of safety in certain circumstances. Regular tire maintenance, oil level checks, and other equipment inspections can ensure the vehicle is in proper working order before drivers hit the road.
Trucks with over or under-inflated tires; worn out tires; poor fluid levels; and worn down internal mechanisms are a hazard to the driver and others around them. If this equipment fails, the driver, the manufacturer, and the company that owns the equipment may be subject to personal injury lawsuits, depending on the circumstances of the accident.
To avoid having truck maintenance be a contributing factor in an accident, the vehicle needs to have recently had service. Many trucking companies keep a running log for the type of maintenance the vehicle has received. This reduces the likelihood of equipment failures, keeps drivers safe on the road, and reduces the odds that they will be involved in an accident resulting from poor vehicle maintenance.
Personal Injury FAQ