Common Causes of Tractor-Trailer Collisions on America’s Roads
A large number of commercial motor vehicle accidents occur each year on highways throughout the United States. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that there were at least 102,755 large truck accidents in the United States in 2015. Further reports suggest that the largest number of these accidents were due to vehicles colliding with one another. While there are numerous reasons why commercial motor vehicles end up in collisions on highways and secondary roads, there are a small number of common causes behind most accidents involving commercial motor vehicles.
- Aggressive Drivers. Drivers who operate commercial motor vehicles aggressively are more likely to get into accidents involving other vehicles on the road. While all drivers should operate commercial motor vehicles defensively, commercial motor vehicle drivers have a special responsibility not to drive aggressively.
- Cell Phone Usage. Using a cell phone can include talking on the phone or texting while driving. It is important to remember that using a wireless headset does not completely remove the risk of becoming involved in an accident while driving. Commercial motor vehicle drivers, however, often resort to cell phone use while operating vehicles to keep themselves entertained on the long trips required by trucking companies. As a result, commercial motor vehicle drivers are often distracted and unable to respond adequately to conditions that can arise immediately on the road.
- Driver Fatigue. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has certain regulations in place regarding how many hours a day and hours a week that a commercial motor vehicle operator may drive a commercial motor vehicle. Drivers who operate commercial motor vehicles while fatigued are more likely to make errors in judgment as well as take additional time to respond to situations that can arise suddenly while operating a vehicle.
- Equipment Malfunction. This category includes a variety of mechanical defects which includes defective design, defective tires, faulty brakes, improper cargo loading and distribution, improper lighting manufacturing defects, steering defects, and transmission problems.
- Illegal or Prescription Drug Use. Some commercial motor vehicle drivers resort to drug use while on the road to deal with medicated problems that should prevent the driver from operating the vehicle. Others might resort to using medicine to relieve the stress and potential boredom of driving long distances. All of these situations can result in drivers who are unable to properly handle commercial motor vehicle responsibilities.
- Improperly Loaded Cargo. Improperly loaded cargo can shift during transportation and cause a vehicle to rollover. Other times, improperly loaded cargo can spill out of a commercial motor vehicle and onto the road, where the item serves as a road hazard to other motorists who are forced to either strike the object or swerve off the road in an attempt to avoid the cargo.
- Unrealistic Schedules. Often trucking companies place unrealistic expectations on commercial motor vehicle drivers concerning when cargo should be delivered to destinations. As a result, commercial motor vehicle drivers sometimes push their bodies beyond reasonable amounts of stress which greatly increases the likelihood of accidents occurring.
It is essential that commercial motor vehicles be closely examined after collisions to reveal the exact cause of the accident. This investigation should include inspection of not only the vehicle but also the driver’s driving records before any of the evidence is disturbed. While some of these causes are unavoidable, many of these causes can be prevented by more attentive and cautious operation of vehicles by commercial truck drivers.
Speak with a Compassionate Accident Attorney
Truck accidents are almost always devastating. Obtaining the compensation that truck accident victims deserve, however, is rarely easy. Fortunately, an experienced truck accident lawyer is prepared to fight for the results you deserve. Contact Wilkerson, Jones & Wilkerson today to schedule a free case evaluation by calling (803) 324 – 7200.