We all share the road with large 18-wheeler trucks as they deliver our consumer goods and drive our economy forward. As necessary as they may be, however, trucks can also present a severe danger to other drivers and pedestrians alike. Here are some of the most common causes of accidents involving large trucks.
Overexertion of the driver
The federal government has mandated strict rules concerning how many consecutive hours truck drivers can stay behind the wheel. Truck drivers that carry merchandise can drive for up to 11 hours a day after being off for 10 hours. They also must take a 30-minute break for every 8 consecutive hours of driving.
Sometimes trucking companies impose strict goals and deadlines on drivers, which incentivize them to cut corners when it comes to federal regulations. Even the most experienced drivers can make costly mistakes when overexerted with too little sleep.
Road conditions and weather
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration keeps detailed records of truck accident statistics and their causes nationwide. In 2019, there were 114,000 crashes involving a truck that resulted in injury, and 4,479 fatal crashes, all caused by road surface conditions. These dangerous conditions can include ice, standing water, snow, loose gravel and more.
Since trucks are so much larger than most other vehicles, they require greater distances to come to a complete stop. This means that conditions that might not be particularly dangerous to a car can be hard to avoid in time for a truck driver.
When a truck is involved in a serious accident it often results in a tragedy, with lives lost and serious injuries sustained. Sometimes the accident is unavoidable, while other times negligence or carelessness play a part.