Six Reasons that Big Rigs Crash
In an average year, more than 3,000 people lose their lives in trucking accidents. Approximately 70,000 crashes more result in injuries. This is according to data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Its 2007 Large Truck Crash Causation Study(LTCCS) established the top reasons for trucking accidents.
For anyone who has been affected by a trucking accident and needed the aid of a Chicago trucking accident attorney, there’s not much comfort knowing that trucking accident fatalities and injuries have dropped over 15% since 2003. There are still tens of thousands of terrible trucking accidents every year resulting in death or injury. Most of these are caused not by other vehicles, weather conditions, or equipment failure but by the truck driver. The top reasons for crashes include the following:
- Problems braking. Simply put, tractor trailers are difficult to stop. 29% of all accidents in the study involved braking problems. This is the only equipment problem that figures into the top ten reasons for truck crashes.
- Travelling too fast for conditions. While this does not necessarily mean that a driver was over the posted speed limit, vehicle speed was the lead cause of an accident in 23% of crashes.
- Not knowing the road. 22% of crashes were caused by another driver error: not being familiar with the roadway. Truck drivers cover a lot of unfamiliar territory. Sometimes not knowing the road causes serious tragedy.
- Road conditions. Poorly maintained roads and weather-related conditions were a lead cause in one out of every five crashes. Sometimes it is a better decision to stay off the road and let the weather pass, but truck drivers often do not have this option.
- Over the counter drugs. At any truck stop there are a number of pills and medications that a trucker can take for pain relief, to stay awake longer, or to relieve illness. These can also affect driving skills. 17% of crashes involve the use of the these legal drugs.
- Not paying attention. Drivers have a hundred different things going on around them at all times. Sometimes they simply miss a danger, resulting in an accident. Inattention is the lead cause of 14% of accidents.
There are many very good truck drivers on the road, but as the LTCCS shows, truck drivers themselves are the largest cause of trucking accidents.