A motor vehicle accident is a scary experience for anyone, and even scarier when a truck is involved. Across the United States, crashes with trucks cause thousands of fatalities every year, and many of those are the occupants in the passenger cars. Colliding with a big rig on the highway can have catastrophic consequences and as a result, crashes involving trucks have a higher fatality rate than those involving only passenger vehicles. Because of their massive size and weight, cars don't stand a chance when they collide with a truck.
According to IIHSHLDI (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety; Highway Loss Data Institute), there's been a 20% increase in crashes involving commercial trucks in the past ten years across the country, and many of those are due to truck driver error.
According to KeepTruckin.com, a 33-month long research study of trucking accidents identified driver error in many of the truck-related crashes. The research shows that driver fatigue is a big concern within the trucking industry. Many drivers have tight deadlines to meet and don't get enough rest. Many also feel pressured to speed and work long hours. There are federal regulations to limit the hours a trucker spends on the road in a day, but the regulations often go unfollowed. The data indicates that many of the drivers involved in the crashes were subject to adverse physical conditions right before the incident.
In addition to fatigue, the research identified four common driver errors, contributing to 87% of motor vehicle accidents involving a truck:
- Non-performance-which included falling asleep or being impaired by a medical condition.
- Recognition-meaning the driver was distracted or inattentive.
- Decision-the driver was making poor driving choices like speeding or following too closely.
- Performance-the driver overreacted to a traffic situation or exercised poor control.
Other contributing factors included issues with equipment failure, such as breaks failing to perform, traffic congestion and improper cargo loading.
When a truck driver is the cause of an accident, the trucking company may be liable. If you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident involving a truck, consult legal counsel to ensure the best possible outcome for your case.