Some of the most deadly and dangerous accidents on the roads are caused by large commercial trucks. A shocking number of people– 4,102 total– died in large truck crashes in 2017. Many of these truck wrecks could have been prevented if drivers, shippers, and operators addressed some of the common causes of truck accidents and worked to fix them. The most common causes of truck crashes include:
Speeding and Driving too Fast for Conditions
Shippers promise fast delivery, often guaranteeing overnight or same-day delivery for packages. And consumers now expect packages to be delivered quickly, which is why Amazon Prime’s two-day delivery guarantee is so popular. With promises of fast delivery come pressure on drivers to drive faster despite road conditions or traffic conditions. This can lead to an increase in accidents.
Manufacturer defects, neglecting regular upkeep, and faulty maintenance jobs can cause brake problems that lead to a crash. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) recently inspected more than 10,000 commercial trucks and discovered that 1 in every 6 trucks had critical brake violations. Brake problems have been a contributing cause to nearly 30% of all truck crashes in the United States.
Drug and Alcohol Use
While drug and alcohol use made up a smaller portion of truck crashes (3%), it was over-the-counter drugs that contributed to the lion’s share of crashes (17%), Commercial drivers are required to submit to drug testing as part of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) standards. FMCSA tests truck drivers for illicit amphetamines and methamphetamines, as well as substances such as cocaine and opiates, but does not test for over-the-counter drugs that can be just as dangerous. Truck drivers often turn to stimulants, such as ephedrine and other weight-loss pills to boost energy in order to drive further and longer.
Truck Driver Fatigue
Truck driver fatigue is one of the most serious safety hazards for both truckers and other drivers on the road. Driver fatigue may be due to lack of adequate sleep, extended work hours or a combination of factors. Nearly 13% of commercial vehicle drivers were considered fatigued at the time of their crash according to a 2007 study. More recent data suggests this trend is continuing.
With the promise for speedy delivery comes pressure on drivers to make sure that they get shipments to their destination quickly. FMCSA’s report to Congress on Truck Crash Causation identified that 13,000 tuck crashes were related to work-related pressures, while another 5,000 were caused by drivers who felt pressured to operate even though they were fatigued.
What to Do If You’re In a Crash
If you’re in a crash with a large truck or bus, there are important steps you should take to make sure that you are protected.
The first step, if you are injured, is to seek immediate medical attention. Dial 911 and explain what happened. Remain in your vehicle and move it out of traffic, if possible. Wait in your car until the police arrive. Make sure that an ambulance has been called to the scene of the crash. When the ambulance arrives, get checked out and go with the EMTs to the hospital.
Next, make sure you seek the advice of a personal injury attorney right away. The insurance company for the semi or trucking company will have a lawyer fighting for their interests. An experienced truck accident lawyer can help investigate, gather vital information such as accident reports, driver’s logs, black box information and obtain other key pieces of evidence that can protect your right to recover for your injuries.
If you, or someone you know, has been injured in an accident involving a commercial vehicle, call our experienced truck accident attorneys at 630-527-1595 or fill out our contact form for a FREE EVALUATION of your case. Do not delay. The sooner we start working for you, the better we can protect your rights.