Trucking accidents have become incredibly prevalent in the last few years. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Texas tops the list of states with the most fatal trucking accidents, with 1,386 occurring between 2015 and 2017. These accidents can be incredibly devastating for those involved. Understanding why commercial trucking accidents occur can help to prevent them from happening in the future.
Accidents between commercial trucks and cars are often more serious and complex than an accident between two passenger vehicles. There is a huge weight difference between a standard vehicle and an 18-wheeler; commercial trucks can carry potentially hazardous cargo, creating a much greater risk for serious injury or fatality to occur.
Because multiple corporations own and operate large trucks, determining who can be held liable for the damages caused is not a straightforward process. Due to this and depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident—the driver of the truck, the owner of the truck, the company who leased the truck, or the shipper of the cargo within the truck could all potentially be liable for a victim’s injuries.
Why Commercial Truck Accidents Happen
When a roadway accident involves a commercial truck, it can leave many wondering how it happened and what led up to it. While many different factors are at play when an accident occurs, understanding the most common reasons for big rig crashes is important. Some of the most common causes of commercial truck accidents include:
Commercial truck drivers often work long hours for days at a time with very little opportunity for rest. When truck company owners demand quick delivery times, driver fatigue can occur. Truck drivers are under immense pressure to adhere to unrealistic deadlines. This accumulated fatigue can cause loss of concentration, coordination, and falling asleep at the wheel.
Poor Maneuvering Decisions
Driver error is a major cause of commercial truck accidents. While driver error broadly covers many behaviors, poor maneuvering decisions are often the cause of accidents. Since semi-trucks are so large and often carry a massive weight, crashes involving them can happen as a result of turning too sharply or traveling too fast for road conditions.
Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs
Unfortunately, truck drivers can also drive while impaired by drugs or alcohol. While some partake in the drinking of alcohol or taking of substances when stopped, others also carry them in their vehicles. Either way, ingesting these substances leaves a driver impaired and potentially unable to operate the vehicle properly. This puts other unsuspecting drivers at risk of becoming victims of a drunk or impaired driving accident at the hands of a commercial truck driver.
Poor Training and Maintenance
All commercial truck drivers are expected to undergo training before hitting the streets. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen and drivers may not be adequately trained in truck driving and/or truck maintenance. Poorly maintained trucks driven by poorly trained drivers cause big rig accidents to occur.
As mentioned earlier, truck drivers are often expected to make deliveries within a small window of time. The pressure applied by trucking companies leads to speeding. Speeding in a large commercial truck is incredibly dangerous due to the massive weight of the vehicle, which is capable of doing far more damage than other vehicles.
Distracted driving is quite prevalent among commercial truck drivers. Due to the vast distances these drivers travel for hours on end, they can resort to texting, eating and drinking, and participating in other distracting behaviors while behind the wheel. Every second a driver’s eyes are off of the road, the potential for an accident increases, making distracted driving by truckers incredibly dangerous and deadly.
Houston Trucking Accident Attorney
While car accidents can occur at any time when the accident involves a commercial truck they can become deadly. Truck accident victims are often unsure of where to turn or how to deal with trucking companies. At Ramsey Law Group, we ensure our clients get the compensation they deserve when a commercial trucking accident occurs. If you or someone you know has been injured in a trucking accident, contact the Houston personal injury attorneys at Ramsey Law Group for a free consultation to discuss your case.