Like any other collision, many factors lead to semi-truck accidents. However, the primary contributing factor is driver error, either on the part of the truck driver or the driver of another vehicle. If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact the West Palm Beach truck accident attorneys at LaBovick Law Group, and read on about the most common causes of semi-truck accidents.
Driving long strenuous hours behind the wheel can begin to take a toll. It’s only a matter of time before distractions can begin to take a truck driver’s attention off the road, which can be catastrophic. Typical forms of distractions include:
- Cell phone usage
- Updating GPS settings
- Changing the radio
- Eating or drinking
It only takes three seconds of taking your eyes off the road for an accident to occur.
Truck Driver Fatigue
Without a reliable sleep schedule and many hours on the road, truck drivers are often operating their vehicles while fatigued. Although federal laws dictate how many hours a trucker can be on the road, it doesn’t guarantee they will be adhered to, especially since they are trying to meet strict deadlines for their job.
The enormous pressure to meet deadlines can lead to impatience, anger, and reckless behaviors—such as speeding, sudden lane changes, failing to signal, failing to account for traffic, following vehicles too closely, or braking abruptly increases the risk of an accident. Truck drivers and other drivers on the road are left with little time to react to sudden movements.
Driving Under the Influence
Driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs is incredibly dangerous, as they impair the senses and affect a driver’s reaction time and judgment. However, many truck drivers resort to alcohol or drugs while on the road, possibly due to stress, out of boredom, or the use of stimulants to help them stay awake.
Semi-trucks have substantial blind spots compared to passenger vehicles. As a result, collisions often occur when a vehicle remains in a truck’s blind spot when the truck driver attempts to change lanes or make a turn and cannot see them. However, truck drivers must also be diligent about ensuring their blind spots are clear before they make a move.
Inexperience or Lack of Training
The trucking industry has a high turnover rate, which means there are constantly new truck drivers on the road. Because the demand for drivers is high, trucking companies may not provide enough training before letting inexperienced drivers hit the road, drastically increasing the chance of an accident.
Not Accounting for Weather
Dangerous weather can significantly reduce truck drivers’ ability to control their vehicles. If they fail to adjust to the climate and road conditions, for example, by slowing down or pulling over to wait it out, a truck driver puts himself and others at risk of a collision.
Many trucking companies and truck owners do not spend the time or money needed to properly maintain their vehicles. A lack of maintenance could lead to a tire blowout, brake failure, steering problems, issues with trailer coupling, missing lights and reflectors, and more.