Anytime you drive on U.S. roads and highways, you are bound to see big rig trucks that weigh several tons hauling cargo from coast to coast. They are common sight that some motorists may take for granted. And among the things they may take for granted is safety and being alert when sharing the road with these colossal vehicles.
Each year, many accidents involving large trucks lead to fatalities and catastrophic injuries. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, large truck accidents in 2018 led to the deaths of nearly 5,000 people and injuries to roughly 151,000 people. Fatalities increased by 1% and injuries by 2% in 2018 compared with the previous year. The causes of these accidents vary, but some are more common than others.
Inexperienced drivers to unbalanced loads
Negligence often is at the root of large truck accidents. Here are some of the top reasons that large truck accidents occur:
- An inexperienced truck driver: It takes the right touch to maneuver these big rig trucks, and a mistake can lead to a crash. Responsibility typically lies with the trucking company for not providing adequate training and sending out drivers who are not ready for the road.
- Drowsiness and fatigue: Truck drivers have demanding jobs and must meet strict delivery deadlines. The pressure is immense, especially when dealing with their employers. The long hours on the road take a toll on a body.
- Irresponsible and reckless truck driver: Some truck drivers subscribe to aggressive and unlawful driving that includes speeding and ignoring traffic laws. Be on the alert.
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs: Common sense seems to be non-existent for some truck drivers who may rely on alcohol, marijuana, speed and cocaine to get them through a working day. This is dangerous.
- Distracted driving: Sadly, distracted driving seems here to stay, especially with smartphones being so ubiquitous.
- Defective truck parts: Truck manufacturers are to blame in some accidents for providing faulty parts that can lead to serious accidents.
- Poorly maintained truck fleets: Mechanics may overlook fixable problems or do sloppy work before sending a truck back on the road.
- Cargo improperly loaded on truck: A truck can overturn as the cargo shifts, especially when making turns or lane changes.
Having a better understanding of the causes of large truck accidents just may make you a more alert driver. Be careful on the road and drive safely.