Due their sheer weight and size, truck accidents can cause serious injury and even death. While there is state and federal regulations in place to minimize the dangers inherent in the trucking industry, truck accidents still occur frequently. There are common reasons for truck accidents, which include:
Driver fatigue tops the list as a leading cause of truck accidents. State and federal laws have attempted to correct this, by regulating the number of hours that a driver can work in a given work day and work week. There are specific regulations, which also require a driver to have a minimum number of consecutive off duty hours as well. These rules have been specifically designed to keep the driver alert, and limit the possibility of driver fatigue. It is important to be aware the employer can be held liable for requiring a driver to work past the maximum number of allowable hours.
According to the National Highway Safety Administration (NTSB), over 25% of fatal truck accidents involved a driver that had been previously cited for speeding. Trucks are particularly dangerous when they are driven at high levels of speed, because of their weight and size.
Trucking companies and their drivers obligated to perform thorough inspection and maintenance of their vehicles. At the very minimum, this should include regular, appropriate maintenance as well additional pre-trip inspections.
Truck driving involves long hours on the road, and it is difficult to maintain focus for hours at a time. Some drivers rely on illegal substances to stay alert. Employers are required to perform drug testing of their drivers upon hiring. Throughout their employment, drivers often go through additional periodic drug testing.
An improperly loaded trailer can significantly impair the ability of the driver to handle the truck. In the event of a truck accident, the driver could be liable for not following the rules of the road, but also for a poorly loaded trailer, which affects the ability to keep the truck under control.