Truck accidents are one of the most serious types of automobile accidents due to the large size of the trucks involved. Tractor trailers, big-rigs and other large commercial vehicles are often multiple tons in weight, and they often transport heavy loads to boot. A small car or motorcycle is virtually no match for a large truck. Victims of truck accidents often suffer very serious injuries and sometimes truck accidents are even fatal.
Reasons Why Truck Accidents Occur
Trucks travelling at a high rate of speed are particularly dangerous. Just one moment of inattentiveness, one tiny malfunction, or one moment of misfortune can lead to a serious accident. Truck accidents happen for a number of different reasons, but some of the most common causes include:
- Driver Negligence. Many truck accidents can be traced back to the negligence of the truck driver. There are many ways that the truck driver can act negligently behind the wheel, such as:
- Driving while fatigued. One of the leading causes of truck accidents where the truck driver was negligent is due to driver fatigue. Truck drivers are obligated by federal regulations to only operate the truck for a set number of hours a day, but some truck drivers violate these rules and drive too many hours and while tired. Sleep deprivation can cause a driver to exhibit delayed reaction time, and could cause a driver to fall asleep at the wheel.
- Distracted driving. All too often, a truck accident results because a truck driver was distracted. Truck drivers do a lot to try and save time on the road, and this can lead to bad driving habits such as driving while texting or using a cell phone or CB radio, driving while trying to operate a GPS device, or eating while driving.
- Failure to use proper signaling. When big trucks change lanes or make a turn, it is critical that this information be conveyed to the other vehicles that are sharing the road. Truck drivers that do not signal their intentions to other drivers place those other drivers at risk.
- Inexperienced drivers. It takes a certain level of skill, training and experience to safely operate a large truck on the road and in emergency situations. New truck drivers may lack the appropriate level of experience, and can make mistakes that can result in serious accidents involving other vehicles that share the roadways.
- Mechanical Failures. A number of truck accidents are linked to mechanical failures of the truck. Mechanical failures can be the byproduct of improper maintenance or repair. Regular safety inspections are meant to identify potential problems and faulty equipment, but some drivers fail to perform these inspections as they should.
- Tire Blow Outs. Tire blow outs are a common occurrence for large trucks. When truck tires are not maintained in good, working condition, they can blow out, which can create a dangerous situation while the truck is in motion. Tire at risk of a blow out can be:
- Improperly fitted or sized;
- Underinflated or overinflated;
- Damaged; or
- Improperly retreaded.