According to the Federal Motor Carrier Motor Safety Administration (FMCSA), there has been a 20% increase in trucking accidents over the past twenty years. Although most truckers and companies are safety conscious and responsible, some have been responsible for serious and fatal accidents across the United States. Specifically, when a smaller vehicle such as a car or motorcycle is involved in a crash with an 80,000 pound fully loaded big rig, the results can be disastrous. This is because trucks are up to twenty times larger than other vehicles on the road, leaving many victims with serious and sometimes fatal injuries.
In light of the above, we feel that it is important for readers to be educated as to the five most common causes of trucking accidents in the hopes that it can help you to take extra precautions when driving around trucks. If you have been injured in a trucking accident, our Atlanta Truck Accident Lawyers want to help. Give Montlick and Associates a call now to learn more about your legal rights and options.
The 5 Most Common Causes of Trucking Accidents
- Driver error – As noted above, most truckers follow the letter of the law and operate their trucks in a safe manner. However, there are some that fail to do so. In fact, the FMCSA states that driver error is ten times more likely to cause a trucking accident than any other factor. Driver error may include driver distraction, fatigue, substance abuse, use of impairing medications, or medical conditions that have gone untreated, making driving unsafe. Regardless of the cause of driver error, it can lead to serious trucking accidents that inflict severe injury and death to drivers around them.
- Equipment failure – Pursuant to the FMCSA regulations, truckers and tucking companies are required to conduct routine maintenance on their fleet. However, some fail to do so, leading to serious accidents from such equipment failures as tire blow outs, loose cargo restraints, snapped axles, and faulty airbrakes.
- Weather conditions – Adverse weather conditions are another common cause of trucking accidents, making the operation of a large truck dangerous to the trucker as well as other drivers. Even for the most highly trained and seasoned commercial truck driver, bad weather can lead to serious accidents. For instance, snow, sleet, heavy rain and ice can cause trucking accidents to occur, especially since it takes a lot longer for a truck, due to its massive size and weight, to make a complete stop.
- Improper loading – Improper loading, whether a load is not properly secured or is filled beyond the legal weight limits, can cause serious accidents. For example, if a truck is overloaded and not properly distributed within a trailer, it can cause the truck to tip over, potentially crushing other cars in its wake. Moreover, if a truck has improperly secured cargo, objects can fall from the truck, potentially striking other vehicles in the roadway.
- Improper selection of truck driver and/or trucking company – A growing number of trucking accidents are caused by the negligent selection of a truck driver and/or trucking company to haul goods across the country. Meaning, some shippers fail to check whether a truck driver and/or company is in compliance with the FMCSA regulations, leading to serious and sometimes fatal trucking accidents. Truck driver training is crucial, and those that are not properly trained to safely operate a commercial truck can seriously threaten the lives of other drivers out on the road.