Common Causes of Truck Accidents

Common Causes of Truck Accidents

The numbers of trucks on American roadways continues to escalate at a rapid rate. Some authorities estimate that there at least 100 new semis, 18-wheelers and tractor-trailers on highways across the country every day. Though there are strict state and federal regulations governing trucking operations, there has been a continued rise in the number of injuries and deaths tied to truck accidents nationwide.

The Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents

According to a study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration ( FMCSA), the factor that most often contributed to a commercial truck accident was the use of drugs before or while behind the wheel. In more than one in four truck accidents (26%), the driver was found to have unacceptable levels of prescription or illegal drugs in his or her system at the time of the crash. Often, it was some form of stimulant, designed to keep the driver awake for long periods of time.

Other Frequent Factors in Trucking Accidents:

  • Excessive speed—Many drivers, feeling pressure to deliver more loads faster, ignore posted speed limits. The FMCSA study found speed to contribute to 23% of all truck accidents. In addition, 18% of accidents involved use of over-the-counter pharmaceutical products.
  • Unfamiliar environs—Many drivers take loads to different places on a regular basis. As a result, they are often unfamiliar with roads or traffic patterns in areas where they are driving. More than one in five (22%) of all accidents involved drivers who were unfamiliar with the area.
  • Failure to check blind spots—Though truck drivers typically receive extensive training on recognizing and checking blind spots, they often for to check them. About one in seven truck accidents involve striking another vehicle it the truck’s blind spot.
  • Driver fatigues is not as prevalent as it once was, accounting for only 13% of accidents. A statistic not formerly considered—distracted driving—now accounts for nearly one in every ten truck accident. Distracted driving can include using handheld devices while behind the wheel , but can also involve focus on road construction or accidents.

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