Semi-truck accidents can be devastating. While any car accident can leave you damaged physically, emotionally, and financially, the massive size discrepancy between commercial trucks and passenger cars means regular drivers are often injured or killed in these wrecks while 18-wheeler drivers walk away without a scratch.
The statistics around truck accidents are stark. One out of every eight traffic fatalities in the United States is caused by a semi-truck. There are more than 500,000 collisions involving commercial vehicles every year and approximately 5,000 deaths annually in those crashes. This blog breaks down four of the most common reasons why these accidents occur.
TRUCK DRIVER FATIGUE
Semi-truck drivers are often overworked. They are forced to drive long distances on tight deadlines to meet the delivery schedules imposed by trucking companies. This grueling lifestyle can force drivers to stay behind the wheel long after they should have called it a night. Drowsy driving impairs coordination and concentration. That’s dangerous enough in any vehicle. The size and weight of 18-wheelers only exacerbate the risk.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, or FMCSA, created hours of service regulations that limit how long a trucker can drive within a period of time. However, drivers frequently violate these laws, often with the encouragement or implicit consent of their employers.
DRUG AND ALCOHOL USE
Substance abuse is unfortunately common among truckers. It goes hand-in-hand with the fatigue issue. To meet their often-unreasonable deadlines, many drivers turn to amphetamines or other stimulant drugs to ward off drowsiness during a long shift.
However, stimulants can cause erratic behavior and still impair someone’s driving ability. They also leave the user vulnerable to a sudden onset of fatigue when the effect of the drug wears off. Repeated use can lead to the development of tolerance and eventually, addiction. Trucking companies that fail to regularly drug test their drivers may be found negligent.
Distracted driving is as big an issue for truckers as it is for everybody else. Common behaviors that constitute distracted driving include:
- Texting while driving
- Eating and drinking
- Using a CB radio to talk to other drivers
- Surfing the internet
NEGLIGENT HIRING AND POOR VEHICLE MAINTENANCE
Often, the actions of a trucking company contribute just as much to an 18-wheeler accident as the driver. The company may not directly cause an accident, but it can help create the conditions that make a wreck more likely. Trucking companies can be negligent in many ways, including:
- Failing to adequately vet drivers during the hiring process
- Inadequate training and support for drivers
- Not regularly drug testing drivers
- Improper vehicle maintenance
- Lack of performance reviews
- Carless loading of cargo
CONTACT OUR AMARILLO TRUCK ACCIDENT LAWYERS TODAY
Attorney Channy F. Wood is a sixth-generation Texan who believes in local lawyers helping local people. He and his colleagues at the Wood Law Firm are dedicated to helping ordinary people who have been injured by the careless actions of others. Channy isn’t afraid to fight the big trucking companies on your behalf.
If you or a loved one were injured in an 18-wheeler accident, the Wood Law Firm will help you pursue compensation. We serve Amarillo and the surrounding areas of Texas. Call (806) 304-0447 today to schedule a consultation.