OSHA estimates that approximately a half million accidents involving large trucks take place each year in the United States, resulting in over 5,000 deaths and 140,000 injuries. The exact circumstances of each accident differ, but certain issues that lead to the incidents are more common than others.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) released a Large Truck Crash Causation Study that revealed some of the most common causes of truck accidents and separated them by driver, vehicle, and environmental causes. Check out the following:
10 Operator-Related Causes
- Over-the-Counter Drug Use
- Drug use (prescription or illegal)
- Failure to take evasive action
- Driving too fast for current road conditions
- Driving on an unfamiliar road
- Illegal maneuvers
- Failure to pay attention
- Poor Surveillance
10 Causes Related to the Vehicle Itself
- Overweight vehicle
- Brake failure
- Brake defect
- Jackknife accidents
- Cargo movement
- Tire defects
- Light deficiency
- Poorly-secured cargo
- Obstructed View
- Defective engine, fuel, or exhaust systems
5 Causes Related to the Environment
- Road-related issues
- Weather-related issues
- Work zones, previous accidents, and traffic
- Stopping for traffic lights/signs and yield right of way requirements
- Obstructed view of road/other automobiles
Trucker Practices That Often Lead to Crashes
Many common trucking practices also play a role in accidents.
Hours On Duty
Federal rules call for the following limits on a trucker’s work hours:
- A driver may be on-duty for 14 consecutive hours if he has been off-duty for 10 or more consecutive hours (naps or breaks count toward the 14 consecutive hours).
- During the 14 consecutive hours that a driver can be on-duty, a driver is only permitted to drive for 11 total hours.
- A driver can not drive after being on duty for 60 hours during 7 consecutive days, and 70 hours during 8 consecutive days.
Some truck companies force drivers to meet their delivery schedules which often disagree with these limits. Some truck operators will also violate the work hour limits in an attempt to gain more income. Inevitable, such practices result in more driver fatigue and ultimately more crashes.
Alcohol and/or Drug Issues
Although federal rules require truckers to take routine and random drug and alcohol tests, the drivers who fail the tests simply move from company to company without reporting previous employment or prior firings. Dishonest truck companies will hire these individuals without doing proper background checks. The incentives of both the truck companies and the operators create the conditions for additional unnecessary risks and crashes.
Speak to Our Denver Truck Accident Attorney Today If You’ve Been Injured
A Denver truck accident attorney can help if you’ve been hurt in a crash with an 18-wheeler or any other commercial vehicle. Our no/win, no/fee policy means that you pay nothing unless we recover damages or obtain a settlement on your behalf. Contact us for a free consultation today.