No one wants to be involved in a truck accident, least of all a trucker. Unfortunately, industry demands and the pressure from employers to make deliveries on time — despite all risks — can push a truck driver to make poor decisions that put his or her life, and the lives of others, on the line.
According to data collected through 2016, the most recent year available for study, fatal accidents involving trucks are on the rise. While fatalities involving big rigs have yet to reach the level they were in 2005 (when they were at an all-time high), they’re still 29 percent higher than they were in 2009. If the trend continues, the number of fatalities may eventually exceed those 2005 levels.
The number one cause of fatal truck accidents is speeding, followed closely by distracted driving. It’s important to note that distracted driving includes a variety of behaviors, including talking or texting on a cellphone, daydreaming, eating, playing with the radio and looking at a GPS system.
Other common causes of truck accidents include:
- Failure to yield when another vehicle has the right of way
- Physical impairments (including intoxication and medical problems)
- Careless driving
- Failure to obey traffic law
- Failure to maintain the proper lane
- Following other vehicles too closely
- Overcorrection of errors
It’s important to note that all of these things are within the driver’s control. A careful driver who is safety-conscious could avoid most wrecks.
Only one cause of truck accidents that could be considered outside of the driver’s control was cited as a major reason for fatalities: obscured vision due to things like poor weather or roadway design. Even those things, however, could be considered partially under the driver’s control, since merely slowing down in adverse conditions could make it easier for a driver to navigate in bad weather or on difficult roads.
Knowing this information tells truckers that they do have a considerable amount of power to avoid fatal accidents — if they choose to wield it.
If your loved one is killed in a trucking accident due to a driver’s negligence or you are injured in one, an attorney can help you better understand all of your legal options.