As an attorney who handles truck accident cases through the United States, I have represented truck accident victims along with their relatives to get a selection of reasons. In this article, I’ll describe some of the factors behind truck accidents, applying systemic causes and moving to more individualized causes.
Whenever you have 80,000 pounds hurtling down a highway at 80 miles-per-hour on 18 wheels, there is not any room for error. And yet, errors happen, often to fatal effect. Here are some recurring causes:
- Brakes — Modern trucks are required to have automatic slack adjusters to take up the slack when pads wear down or drums expand. Mechanics should be taught to maintain these and drivers shouldn’t try to manually adjust them. Many older trucks still need manual slack adjusters, which has to be checked, or the brakes can fail, specially when a truck will go downhill along with the brake drums expand as friction builds.
- Overloading — A truck may be dangerously overloaded, which affects its handling. If a tanker truck lacks adequate safeguards, it could be susceptible to massive forces of momentum when braking suddenly, as a huge number of sloshing gallons can cause a motorist to reduce control.
Instability — Trucks can also lose stability when braking or turning, and then roll over you aren’t lose control.
In fact, that very issue has elevated the news lately. About three-fourths of large tractor-trailers now traveling lack stability-rollover control systems, which can be shown to prevent crashes and save lives. Both the National Transportation Safety Board and also the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are calling for such systems to get mandatory equipment. While many large fleet owners offer the move, some independent drivers and their organizations call the price onerous. And no an example may be even referring to mandatory retrofitting for trucks already on the road.
Lack of Tracking for Trucking Bad Actors
How do equipment failures happen? Usually, they’re traceable to poor management and inconsistent maintenance, often exacerbated by inattentive as well as bad driving. Yet amazingly, there is certainly still no national database that tracks patterns of safety violations among trucking company officials, supervisors, as well as other influencers. So individuals who have run trucking companies involved in safety violations can simply shut down an organization and start another, bringing with these every one of the bad practices but none in the safety violations, surveillance, or censure they deserve.
In July 2011, a Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration committee recommended the FMCSA start just this kind of database to hold our roads safer.
Driving while tired is a type of aspect in fatal truck and commercial vehicle wrecks. While the FMCSA’s Hours-of-Service rule requires truck drivers to take a sleep break after 11 hours of driving, many truckers want to drive in the evening, when roads are less crowded — and of course people get tired during the night. That’s our biology. Note that the FMCSA’s HOS rule allows commercial drivers to reset their weekly limit by subtracting a 34-hour break. But that cuts into earnings, so drivers may try and scrimp.
In June 2011, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance organized Roadcheck 2011, a three-day enforcement and education campaign that mobilized almost 8,000 inspectors to halt a lot more than 70,000 trucks and buses at 2,550 location within the U.S. While overall results showed some improvement over previous years, more than half the drivers achieved the road were faulted for Hours-of-Service violations.
Driving while distracted is yet another common cause of truck accidents. Probably the most infamous distracted trucker was the one who killed a new mother near Buffalo, NY, in January 2010, while he was distracted by streaming porn on his laptop — while driving. (That trucker was also found to have been very sleep-deprived, which assists to my last point.)
But talking and texting on mobile devices are also common distractions, despite a large number of state and federal laws restricting or prohibiting both.
Driving beneath the influence causes accidents in all vehicles. Truckers are no exception, although their legal BAC limit is.04%, half that of a noncommercial driver. Many use stimulants to aid stay awake over long hauls, but all drugs cloud judgment which enable it to bring about unsafe driving.