Common Causes of 18 Wheeler Truck Accidents: Driver ErrorLast updated on: February 17, 2022
The number of truck accidents is on the rise, up by 20 percent in recent years. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), about 5,000 individuals are killed in crashes annually and another 130,000 people injured.
Truck accidents can occur due to the wide variety of circumstances, but the number one cause of truck accidents is driver error. A recent study released by FMCSA reports that commercial truck driver are ten times as likely to be the cause of the accident than any other factors, including:
- Vehicle performance
- Even poor road conditions
All commercial truck drivers have a duty to act in a reasonably safe manner so as to avoid injury to other users of the roadway. When truck drivers fail to meet this duty of care and injuries result, they can be held accountable for the damages inflicted.
The following types of driver error commonly result in serious injuries:
- Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol: Of all trucking accidents caused by driver error, 44 percent involve the use of prescription or over the counter drugs. Many more involve alcohol. Operating a massive truck while under the influence of any mind altering substance can prove deadly.
- Driver fatigue: Tired drivers are more likely to fall asleep behind the wheel, not pay attention, under or overact to a situation, and ignore signs of danger. Federal regulations limit the number of hours a truck driver can legally operate a vehicle, but many truck drivers nonetheless manage to exceed these requirements, resulting in dangerous accidents.
- Truck rollovers caused by driver error: Rollovers are one of the most common causes of fatalities and injuries in the trucking industry. They are often caused by driver error, which includes accidents due to: taking a curve too quickly, speeding, inexperience, fatigue, or improper load distribution.
- Distraction: Driving while distracted is always dangerous, but especially so when operating a massive 18 wheeler. Distracted truckers may fail to notice obstacles in time to stop, run through lights, run off the road, or turn into traffic. Distraction is often caused by the use of a mobile or other technological device, but can also include eating, drinking, grooming, talking to passengers, and the like.
- Speeding: Speed is thought to be the number one cause of all truck accidents. Exceeding the speed limit will make the truck driver unable to stop in the event of an accident or stopped traffic ahead. It also leads to rollovers, jackknifing, running off the road accidents, and many other serious events. Truck drivers have a duty to observe safe speed limits so as to prevent the negligent injuring of other parties.
- Inexperience: A lack of training or time on the job can lead to mistakes that come with inexperience. Truckers who operated commercial vehicles without adequate experience can cause serious injuries to others due to their negligent actions.
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