Trucking Accidents

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Trucking Accidents

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, around 500,000 trucking accidents occur each year in the United States. About 5,000 of these accidents result in fatalities, and one out of every eight traffic fatalities involves a trucking collision.

Many factors can cause a dangerous truck accident. The most common are:

Driver error: Truck accidents often take place due to poor decisions by the driver. If a driver is under the influence, has insufficient training, is speeding to meet unrealistic deadlines, hasn’t secured heavy loads properly, is driving a truck that is in need of repairs, or has driver fatigue, serious injuries can occur.

Dangerous actions of passenger vehicles: Although rare, some truck accidents are caused by a small passenger vehicle. These can start with unsafe practices such as trying to get ahead of a truck and not managing to accelerate fast enough, driving between commercial trucks without keeping sufficient distance from the back and front of the truck, changing lanes suddenly and coming in front of a speeding truck, entering traffic incorrectly, and causing truck drivers to brake or turn abruptly.

Unavoidable and Unforeseen Circumstances: Occasionally, circumstances are beyond a truck driver’s control, such as oil spills during rain, swerving or turning suddenly to avoid colliding with a broken down car or a pedestrian, sudden mechanical or brake failure that causes a driver to lose control.

NOTE — Truck drivers work long hours, face strenuous deadlines, and must abide by strict schedules. This often adds up to driver fatigue, one of the highest causes of truck accidents in the United States. In 1939, an “hours of service” rule began to limit the number of hours that any truck, driven by a single truck driver, can be on the road. Even though truck drivers and trucking companies must comply with these laws, many do not because they have tight schedules or the desire to make more money.

That isn’t the only federal regulation that governs the trucking industry. There are also many laws regarding the driver’s actions and the upkeep of the vehicles. Often, trucking accidents occur because of improper maintenance. In those situations, the federal rules and regulations help hold these drivers and companies accountable.

Such rules include preventive maintenance and inspection of the trucks, checking and understanding brake performance, specific documentation and conduct, keeping a driver’s log book, conducting routine alcohol and drug testing, proper transportation of HAZMAT goods, etc. These laws are in place to regulate the industry and decrease the number of catastrophic trucking accidents on the road.

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