Commercial trucks can pose a higher risk of contributing to severe motor vehicle accidents. Unfortunately, every year accidents involving commercial trucks inevitably occur. According to Orange County truck accident attorney – Roberts | Jeandron Law, collisions between commercial trucks and cars often lead to catastrophic injuries, devastating property damage, or worse, loss of life. Some of the most common factors of commercial truck collisions include:
A study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has determined that the most common factor that causes commercial truck accidents is driver error, including:
- The truck driver was distracted by something or was inattentive on the road
- The trucker fell asleep behind the wheel or was disabled by a heart attak, seizure, or stroke
- The truck driver was speeding and following other motor vehicles too closely
- The truck driver did not have proper directional control
Improperly Packed Loads
Unbalanced loads are also a common factor in collisions. In some cases, trucking companies’ employees may neglect to stack or inspect the truck’s load properly. In other situations, they can place the wrong size or length straps to secure the load. Unfortunately, when a commercial truck is improperly loaded, it can make it unstable and sway on the road, making the truck driver crash if the truck loses balance.
Even seemingly minor mechanical problems can result in devastating collisions. Some of the most common mechanical issues that result in commercial truck crashes include:
- Poorly maintained or defective brakes
- Worn or improperly inflated tires
- Manufacturing defects on certain truck parts
- Missing or faulty safety equipment, such as underride rails
- Defective or malfunctioning turn signals and lights
- Transmission failure
Negligent Trucking Company Practices
In too many cases, trucking companies’ commitment to meeting delivery deadlines lead to unrealistic schedules, improper loading, and driver fatigue. Federal rules limit truck drivers’ driving hours to eleven consecutive hours. Moreover, truckers must rest for at least ten hours after a long shift to combat driver fatigue. All of these automatically increase the risk of commercial truck accidents.
However, some commercial truckers push themselves to the limit due to pressure from their employers to complete deliveries. Some may be forced to drive up to 14 to 16 hours, risking falling asleep while driving and raising the risk of serious crashes.
A truck driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol risks the safety of other motor vehicle drivers, as their reaction time, reflexes, and judgment are impaired. Moreover, impaired driving can also occur when a trucker is tired, and it is just as hazardous as driving while drunk or drugged because the trucker’s senses are not at their peak. In addition, some OTC drugs or prescriptions can cause drowsiness.
Heavy traffic may also cause truck collisions due to the trucker’s inability to maneuver a large commercial vehicle through traffic. The truck driver might have difficulties in seeing other drivers in their blind spots because such large motor vehicles have reduced visibility as compared to most cars.
Roads are not always properly maintained. They can deteriorate over time and start to crack due to changing weather. If the roadway is in disrepair, it may cause a commercial truck to swerve, sway, or fall over. While it would not be the commercial truck driver’s fault but rather the local county, it can still lead to severe injuries and wrongful death.