October 25, 2018
Due to their size and weight, truck wrecks are more dangerous and deadly than typical car crashes. The average passenger vehicle weighs about 4,000 pounds while a semi-truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Below are the top 5 causes of semi-truck wrecks:
1. Driver Fatigue/Driver Error
Truck drivers have a duty to drive safely, but may still drive while distracted, tired, drunk or under the influence of drugs. Drivers are generally paid based on miles, so there is an incentive for the truck driver to drive a longer distance in a shorter period of time. As a result of this, federal regulations exist that limit the number of hours a driver can legally drive within a day and when the driver must take breaks. Despite this, driver error and fatigue continues to be one of the most common reasons for truck wrecks.
2. Improper Maintenance
Commercial trucks drive hundreds of miles every day and suffer significant wear and tear. Because of this, trucking companies, drivers, and maintenance crews must regularly maintain the fleet. Any number of improperly maintained parts or components can lead to serious injury and fatal wrecks. Worn brakes pads or a cracked windshield, for example, can cause a major crash.
3. Improper Cargo Loading
Truckers have to abide by industry-specific rules when it comes to loading the bed or trailer of a truck. There are certain weight, size, length, width, and height limits to a load. Truckers or others may quickly load the truck so it can get on the road to the next destination. Inexperienced packers may also not understand how to properly distribute load weight throughout the truck. Improper loading may cause the truck to wreck or lose the load onto the road which endangers people in nearby vehicles.
4. Distracted Driving
Distracted drivers are people who drive a vehicle while their vision, hands, or concentration is off of the vehicle and the duty of driving. Using a cell phone is the most common cause of distracted driving, but distracted driving can also be due to: fiddling with the radio, typing an address into a GPS system, eating, drinking, or talking to other passengers. Truck drivers are prone to distracted driving given the long hours that they work and the tedious nature of driving.
5. Driver Inexperience
The final common reason for semi-truck wrecks is driver inexperience and inadequate driver training. Trucking companies often quickly train new drivers and put them on the road as quickly as possible. New drivers might not be familiar with the specific trucks they are assigned to. Additionally, poor weather can cause a truck driver to crash if they are not adequately trained and prepared to drive in certain conditions. Unfortunately, inexperienced drivers are appealing to some trucking companies because they generally charge less per mile or are paid less than those that are more experienced.