Ten Reasons that Truck Drivers Crash
Trucking accidents represent only a small portion of total accidents on the highways, but people in them are more likely to be killed or suffer serious injuries. Several organizations – including the trucking industry – have done several studies to determine what causes trucks to have accidents. Hopefully this will lead to making trucks even safer.
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The studies all point to either driver error – which could be the trucker or another motorist – or mechanical failure as the major reasons that trucks get into crashes.
If you do get into an accident, Chicago truck accident lawyers can help you with a personal injury or fatality case.
There can be a lot of reasons for a trucking accident, whether it be mechanical or driver error. It is just that when trucks are involved the stakes are higher than when it is passenger cars that get into an accident. Several studies have been conducted to determine why trucks get into accidents, or what causes them to happen. By studying the accidents, officials hope they can find ways to prevent or control the number of accidents. In the meantime, Chicago truck accident lawyers are there to help people recover after an accident.
According to a study by the American Trucking Association, fatalities happened in 1.0 percent of trucking accidents, and .5 percent for cars nationwide in 2009. That year there were 3,380 deaths in trucking accidents. The Illinois Dept. of Transportation says there were 9,739 tractor trailer accidents in 2012 in the state. There were 81 fatalities, and 1,633 injuries, with 346 of them serious. There were 777 car related fatalities that year, but there were also 390,000 accidents.
The American Trucking Association says 90 percent of accident are caused by driver error, with the rest caused by mechanical or environmental issues. The study also says car drivers and truck drivers are about equally at fault in many car versus truck accidents. Chicago truck accident lawyers work on all types of vehicle accidents, and are familiar with most causes of accidents.
While there are a lot fewer trucking accidents than car accidents, trucking accidents are more likely to be fatal. Studies by truckers organizations, as well as the National Department of Transportation, say there is rarely a single cause for an accident. They break it down into a “critical event” which leads to a “critical reason.” The critical event is something that happens that makes an accident very likely, and the response to that is usually the critical reason for the accident.
Equipment failure is sometimes the problem, and that is when the company may be held liable.
- Brakes or other mechanical failure, or tire problems, is a cause about seven percent of the time.
- Cargo shifting while moving is also a cause related to equipment.
- Roadway problems, such as construction areas, or even debris on the road, also causes this type accident. Poor maintenance practices can lead to mechanical failures.
Actions of the driver are the most common cause of accidents.
- Distractions, either inside or outside the vehicle can cause accidents. Some studies suggest on-board computers truckers use can be enough of a distraction to cause an accident. This is similar to texting. However, some studies suggest talking on a cell phone can actually help a drowsy truck driver on a very long haul.
- Aggressive driving, following too close. Speeding also falls into this category. Driving too fast in rain or snow, or general reckless driving.
- Illegal drugs or alcohol is relatively rare, but still a cause. The trucking industry estimates less one percent of truckers, but about seven percent of car drivers, fit into this category in fatal crashes.
Sometimes there are external forces that may not be under the direct control of the driver, but the driver could still be at fault.
- Driver illness such as a heart attack. Any type of sudden illness that leaves a drive incapacitated. Sleep apnea has also been cited in some accidents involving truckers. A reaction to prescription medication has also caused some accidents on the road.
- Inadequate training. Many drivers feel they were not trained properly, and when drivers are at fault, often it is caused by someone with limited experience.
- Driver unfamiliar with roadway. This can result in leaving the lane of travel, hitting a car in the driver’s blind spot, or even running off the road. A related item is when drivers misunderstand that other drivers are doing.
- Pressure from employer. While there are rules for how many hours drivers may drive in a day, there is still pressure to make deliveries. Drivers are often paid by the mile, so that may push drivers to stay behind the wheel longer than they should.
Regardless of the reason, Chicago Truck Accident Lawyers can help you understand your legal options if you get in an accident.