Trucking accidents claim thousands of lives every single year. A huge portion of these accidents can be attributed to the same small group of causes. Eliminating these factors is crucial if the industry is to become safe. Here is a guide to the five commonest causes of trucking accidents.
Sometimes an accident is just that: a truly unexpected and faultless case of distraction. Driver distraction causes thousands of accidents every single year and contributes to many fatalities. Many companies have taken to monitoring their drivers and contacting them when they appear distracted. How this actually solves the causes of distraction is anybody’s guess. Ultimately, driver working conditions need to be improved without infringing upon their freedoms if the distraction is to significantly decrease. Simply disciplining distracted drivers will do nothing to help, and will only put the livelihoods of overworked trucking professionals at risk.
If a fatigue-related accident has genuinely happened because of poor working conditions, a good truck accident attorney will usually be able to seek compensation on behalf of the driver affected. Some larger haulage companies are seeking ways to reduce both accidents and injury claims due to fatigue. Close monitoring of driver breaks and anti-fatigue alarms have drastically reduced accidents, but many truckers have expressed concerns about their privacy and dignity when these devices are employed.
Substance abuse is surprisingly (and rather worryingly) common among professional truck drivers. A study by Brazilian academic Edmarlon Girotto found that the trucking industry has a worldwide issue with drugs and alcohol that is thought to be related to poor working conditions. Thirty percent of truck drivers involved in the study admitted to taking amphetamines during their work. An even higher percentage admitted to using alcohol to keep them going. Marijuana and cocaine were also used, although less frequently.
Alcohol and amphetamines can drastically increase the risk of having an accident. If a driver is found to have been consuming drugs or alcohol they usually have to shoulder the blame for any accident they are in. In order to stamp out this dangerous issue, the working conditions of truck drivers need to be improved.
Overtaking can be immensely dangerous in a fully laden truck. Nevertheless, drivers with strict deadlines to meet do sometimes make the choice to put their pedal to the metal. Trucks do not have very low centers of gravity, meaning that sudden turns and stops can leave them vulnerable to tipping.
Trucks are heavy and complex. They require rigorous maintenance in order to safely drive long distances. Burnouts from worn tires are a common cause of trucking accidents all around the world. A burnout involves the complete failure of a tire sidewall, leading to a degloving of the wheel. Other maintenance issues that can contribute to accidents include the use of worn-out brake pads and the overheating of truck engines that have not been provided with the correct lubrication and cooling liquid.