Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Truck Accidents – Common Causes

When passenger vehicles are involved in collisions with big rigs, 18-wheelers, and other large commercial trucks, the damage is usually severe. Because of the great weight and size of these vehicles, truck drivers must meet tougher requirements to get their commercial licenses and are held to higher standards.

Despite this, truck accidents are often caused by negligence on the part of the truck driver or the trucking company. In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) found that truck drivers are ten times more likely to be the cause of crashes than other factors like road and weather conditions or vehicle performance. A study by the FMCSA also determined that truck driver action or inaction was the critical cause of 88% of accidents.

While there are various factors involved in any truck accident, some of the most common causes include:

Driver Fatigue
Truckers work long hours and are usually under intense pressure to meet scheduling deadlines. Despite the FMCSA’s strict regulations for the number of hours that drivers can spend on the road at a time, many truckers violate these rules and stay behind the wheel for extremely long time periods. Fatigue can have the same impact upon a driver as being under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and often severely impacts a driver’s ability to safely operate the truck.

Driver Impairment
The legal intoxication limit is much lower for truck drivers, and they can be charged with DUI for having a BAC of just .04%. Despite the fact that their vehicles can cause far more damage in a collision, some truckers still choose to drink and drive. Substance abuse has also become very common among truckers because of the pressure to stay awake for long periods of time and the isolation and monotony of the job.

Improper Maintenance/Equipment Problems
The FMCSA has strict guidelines for the maintenance and upkeep of commercial trucks and their shipping equipment. However, many trucking companies fail to impose these standards or cut corners on proper maintenance in order to save money. Faulty equipment and improper use of equipment, such as incorrectly securing a load, can cause very serious accidents.

Unsafe Driving
The weight of commercial trucks makes it very difficult for truckers to slow down or stop abruptly if they are traveling at a high speed. Additionally, the large containers raise the center of gravity on trucks and can cause rollovers if they take turns too fast. Collisions can also occur when truckers fail to follow proper passing techniques and change lanes without carefully checking blind spots, using their signals, and making sure there is enough room to pass.

If you or a loved one was harmed in an accident caused by a negligent truck driver, you may be able to recover rightful compensation for your injuries and losses under personal injury law. Our family-run Las Vegas law firm proudly represents accident victims in Nevada, and we may be able to help you obtain justice. Visit the Truck Accidents page on our website for more information.