The mere size of a truck is a danger in and of itself.
According to injury facts from the National Safety Council, fatal truck accidents have increased by 33% since 2011. The rise in severe trucking accidents inevitably is accompanied by more disputes with insurance companies, and therefore more truck accident cases overall. The necessity for insurance companies to compensate truck accident victims to the fullest extent of their injuries is more important than ever, given the nature of truck accidents. Truck accident lawyers at Hanson & Mouri note that even the time a truck takes to break can be the cause for a severe accident. Collisions do more damage, cause more severe injuries, and cost more money. This blog will discuss how these accidents come about.
Fatigued Truck Drivers
As noted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, truck driver fatigue is one of the leading causes of truck accidents in the United States, with 13% of truck drivers admitting to being fatigued at the time of their accident. Typically, driving fatigue is characterized by drowsiness, mental or physical overexertion, lack of nutrition, and other factors that can result in the driver becoming a danger on the road. Some of the consequences of driving fatigue in truck drivers include:
- Delayed response time
- Bad decision making
- Memory loss
- Lane drifting
All of this can result in devastating truck accidents that could have been prevented if the driver had been able to take the necessary precautions to avoid becoming fatigued in the first place.
Failure to Meet Hours of Service Regulations
Because truck drivers are often on a timeline with strict delivery or service dates, it’s easy for many of them to overextend themselves behind the wheel, leading to poor decision-making and driver fatigue. Thankfully, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has regulations in place to ensure that truck drivers care for themselves. This way, they can try and reduce their chances of an accident on the road by receiving the rest that they need and not. Some of these regulations enforce things such as:
- Consecutive hours driving
- Hours worked on top of hours behind the wheel
- Hours drove over 24 hours
- Hours drove in a week
- Required time off
Failure to follow these hours regulations, however, puts both the driver and others on the road at risk. By ignoring these standards, the chances of driver fatigue increase drastically and in turn, so do the chances of an accident.
Larger Blind Spots
The mere size of a truck is a danger in and of itself. While most trucks are equipped with extra rearview mirrors, it still doesn’t fully compensate for the risk a truck poses to drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians on the road. Here are a few of the blind spots truck drivers battle:
- Directly in front of the truck for about 20 feet.
- Directly behind the truck for about 30 feet.
- Along each side of the truck diagonally backward.
- Immediately below and behind the driver’s window.
Both the weight and size of a truck is a factors in causing danger on the road, and to the wrongful death lawyers at Haque Legal, commercial trucks can weigh more than 80,000 pounds! Plus, when a truck is overloaded with too much cargo, the strain it puts on the truck results in difficulty keeping the truck in control. The suspension system in the truck becomes limited, and the risk of serious accidents rises. Not only does the vehicle’s mass pose a threat, but the cargo can end up falling off the truck, obstructing the road, and causing chaos. The truck can also fall sideways, smashing cars/pedestrians/etc., underneath it, and causing the vehicles behind it to collide.
Inability to Instantly Break
Because trucks carry so much weight and are inherently larger than almost all other vehicles on the road, the force behind them is immense when on the road. Whether moving slowly or at a high speed, a truck is going to have a much harder time stopping all of its force than a regular vehicle. Because of this, truck drivers have to be much more aware of their surroundings, because the likelihood that they will be able to stop at a moment’s notice is almost impossible. This inability to stop as fast as other drivers then result in accidents that may have been avoidable in other automobiles.