Some of the most gruesome accidents on the major thoroughfares of the United States involve commercial trucks. According to national statistics, about 5,000 deaths occur each year in the nearly 500,000 accidents that are caused either directly or indirectly by a commercial truck. Drivers of these rigs can find themselves in serious litigation issues, often requiring the help of a CDL traffic attorney in order to keep their license. However, drivers who are aware of the most common causes of accidents can be better prepared to address them.
An overworked truck driver is an accident waiting to happen. Most drivers take loads and distances that require a tremendous amount of driving hours without getting adequate sleep in between. Though there are regulations in place that try to prevent fatigue from becoming a problem, many trucking companies push their drivers to the limit in order to offer competitive delivery services to their consumers. There is a lot of pressure to meet very tight deadlines, and the result is drivers who lose their concentration, coordination and even consciousness while behind the wheel.
2. Substance Abuse
Even though illegal, many truck drivers get on the road while still intoxicated or under the influence of both legal and illegal drugs. Driving with alcohol, drugs or certain medications in the system can impair the driver, and lost concentration or slow reflexes can lead to an accident. Poor judgment is often to blame for accidents involving a truck driver and alcohol or drugs in the system. Accidents of this nature can lead to unemployment and the suspension of the CDL license.
3. Lack Truck Maintenance
Even though trucking companies have rigorous hiring procedures and training hours required before commercial vehicles can be driven along public roads, not all truck drivers follow through with training and truck maintenance expectations. The lack of maintenance and upkeep to the truck can lead to accidents as well. The costs of keeping a truck in good repair sometimes deter drivers from putting in the maintenance needed, but the consequences of an at-fault accident are much worse.
The pressure to reach a destination within a required timeframe contributes to these occurrences, but speed during inclement weather is also a problem. Trucks require more careful handling during rainy, windy or wintery conditions, but drivers aren’t always as careful as they need to be.
There are a number of factors influencing truck driver safety and paying attention to these critical areas can save lives and costly damages while on the road. Regardless of the load or deadline, safety should always be a priority.