In 2012, there were 3,921 people killed and over 100,000 people injured in highway crashes that involved large trucks in almost 314,000 accidents. The recent trend continues with fatalities up 4% and serious injuries up 18% from 2011.
1. Driver Error
Driver error is far and away the most likely cause of truck crashes… 10 times more likely than any other factor… according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The most common reason for driver error cited on police accident reports are fatigue, distraction, inattention and substance abuse. Nearly 18% of the fatalities in highway truck-related accidents are the truck’s driver, with 72% of the fatalities being sustained by drivers or passengers of other vehicles.
2. Truck Equipment Failure
Equipment failures are the second most common cause of truck crashes which include design and manufacturing errors like defective tires, reverse-detection warning devices or improper maintenance of brakes and tires. Every truck driver and company is required by the FMCSA to perform pre-trip inspections and regular maintenance of their trucks year round. Unfortunately, guidelines are easy to ignore with predictable, yet preventable, annual increases in accidents, serious injuries — and death.
3. Weather Conditions
Commercial truck drivers don’t always account for bad weather limitations, the third most common cause for big rig accidents. The bigger the vehicle, the more susceptible they are to weather conditions which has a major impact on their safety. Their weight combined with their heavy loads make braking distances even longer in bad weather. Trucks cannot stop as quickly or steer as easily as cars.
4. Improper Loading
If a truck’s load is not safely positioned in the trailer, the cargo can shift, causing the truck to become unbalanced when stopping or turning. Improperly secured loads can come loose and fall from the trailers creating high-speed obstacle courses.
5. Inexperienced Drivers
With the explosive growth of commercial trucking in the U.S., new, under-trained and inexperienced drivers are hitting the road. It is becoming increasingly more important for shippers to work with experienced companies and drivers who are in compliance with the FMSCA regulations to safely ship their loads. Shippers may be liable for the accidents their drivers cause.
If you or someone you care about has been injured as a result of a truck accident, call the experienced attorneys at Charles G. Monnett III & Associates for a free initial consultation.