Commercial trucking accidents often capture headlines because they tend to end so tragically. Commercial freight trucks and eighteen-wheelers can weigh tens of thousands of pounds and when these vehicles collide with smaller cars, the personal injuries, fatalities, and property damage that occurs can be devastating. A number of factors can contribute or lead to trucking accidents. These include:
1) Poor choices made by drivers of passenger vehicles. Commercial truck drivers are not always to blame for trucking accidents. In many cases, passenger vehicle drivers take risks on the road that lead to car accidents involving trucks. Car drivers may not understand the limits of truck, and may drive closely behind or beside a truck, in the truck driver’s blind spots. Some drivers cut off trucks making right turns or change lanes too quickly in front on trucks, not allowing truck drivers time to respond. Some drivers take risks by not following the rules of the road. In all cases, passenger vehicle drivers are likely to be seriously injured or killed if an accident results.
2) Poor choices made by pedestrians. Some pedestrians step out in front of trucks, not realizing that trucks have many blind spots and take longer to stop than passenger vehicles. Some pedestrians also do not pay attention to trucks that are turning or reversing. In all cases, a pedestrian accident involving a truck almost always leads to a fatality.
3) Poor driving by truck drivers. Some truck drivers make mistakes or take risks on the road. Some drivers drive under the influence or while sleepy, increasing the odds of an accident. Some truck drivers are too inexperienced or too under-trained to be safe on the road.
4) Unsafe road conditions. Weather can wreak havoc with a driver’s ability to steer a large truck. Slippery roads and poor visibility can be especially problematic for a truck driver, who needs to start braking and responding much earlier than a passenger vehicle driver. In addition, big ruts in the road, unevenly paved roads and poor road maintenance can lead to truck rollovers and other accidents.
5) Unsafe truck conditions. Some trucks are poorly maintained or incorrectly loaded. Trucks that exceed their maximum capacity are especially dangerous on the road. Product defects – such as defective truck tires or brakes – can also lead to accidents.