Top 5 Causes Of Truck Accidents
Truck accidents are not an uncommon sight on our roads today. One in every five truck accidents leads to deaths and severe damage to the other vehicle involved. A fully loaded commercial truck can weigh up to 40 times the weight of the regular passenger vehicle. That said, truck accidents can be grisly causing lots of damage and loss of life. Although the government and road authorities might have put measures in place to reduce truck accident fatalities and collisions, the number of truck accidents on the roads today is still alarming.
Although most people will be quick to judge the truck driver for the accident, he/she (the driver) might not be to blame. Some of the common faults for truck accidents include:
- The truck driver or the employer (fatigue, poor maintenance, etc.)
- The truck itself or parts used on the same (design defect, maintenance and cargo issues)
- A government entity (road issues, obstacles on the road, a flaw in the road design, etc.)
Although a poor road design and condition of the road can be the reason for an accident, most truck accidents are as a result of human error. Outlined below are some of the top causes of truck accidents on our roads.
1.Driver Fatigue and Tiredness
Most truck drivers are forced to drive over long distances across states for many hours with very little time to rest. While some trucking companies allow their drivers to sleep for long enough, or assign several drivers for their trucks, there are those that force their drivers to work overtime. This means the driver gets very little sleep which leads to accumulated fatigue and loss of coordination and concentration while on the wheel. The federal government, however, limits truck driving to 11 hours per day. Truckers are therefore required to get at least 10 hours of rest between driving to prevent fatigue and sleeping on the wheel.
2.Poor Truck Maintenance
Failed brakes are among the most common faults that lead to accidents. For this reason, truckers and truck owners are required to ensure their trucks are in a roadworthy condition before ‘hitting’ the road. Poorly maintained trucks are subject to malfunctioning thus making it hard even for an experienced driver to avoid an accident. For this reason, the government requires all maintenance checks to be documented to not only reduce the risk of a failed equipment but also to hold the truck company responsible in case of an accident resulting from the same. This can be anything from tire blowouts to faulty brakes.
3.Overtaking and Over Speeding
Traffic snarl up and poor conditions can make a truck driver fall behind schedule, hence want to overspend to avoid making late deliveries. Employers also pressure their drivers to work under tight deadlines forcing some to driver above the speed liming. Some of these will find themselves overtaking in areas they shouldn’t be overtaking, and at high speeds. Considering the truck’s overall weight, over speeding can make controlling the truck a lot harder for even the most experienced driver, thus making it hard to avoid an accident situation. Breaking at high speeds is almost impossible for trucks, another reason truck drivers are required to drive within the stipulated speed limits to be safe.
4.Alcohol and Drug Use
Driving under the influence of alcohol and other drugs is another leading cause of road accidents today. Regardless of the substance used, driving while intoxicated impairs a driver’s judgment and coordination thus making it hard to avoid an accident situation. Some truck drivers are known to take alcohol and other substances while on transit, with many arrested for causing accidents due to drunk driving. The law prohibits driving while intoxicated. This includes prescription drugs known to impair a person’s coordination.
Truck drivers have to drive over long distances and for long hours which may make them bored and want to multitask. The simplest distraction such as changing the radio station, texting, or making a phone call while on the road makes it hard to react accordingly in case of a situation. To avoid this, truck drivers often have someone to keep them company on long trips. This can be another qualified and certified driver or a turn boy.
Poor road conditions, weather, and overloading are other factors that can lead to truck accidents. Nonetheless, ensuring all drivers are well-trained can help prevent most accidents on the road. Truck drivers should only drive when alert as well.