The Law Offices OfPhilip M. Tobin

What 3 main factors lead to trucking accidents?

San Jose's roads are frequently clogged with big rigs in transit from Point A to Point B. As such, these large commercial trucks often cause or contribute to serious wrecks that leave those driving or riding in much smaller passenger vehicles injured or dead.

While no two wrecks will be exactly alike, there are certain commonalities surrounding most collisions with semitrucks. Below you will discover the three primary factors that contribute to accidents with 18-wheelers.

Driver errors

Driver error leads the list of factors that cause truck accidents, as it's 10 times as likely to be the reason behind an accident than any other factor. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) cited four critical categories in a study. The below four elements they cited caused over half of 141,000 truck wrecks:

  • Nonperformance. Drivers either suffered seizures or heart attacks, fell asleep at the wheel or became physically impaired for other reasons.
  • Recognition. Driver were distracted or didn't pay adequate attention while driving.
  • Decisions. Sometimes drivers go too fast for the highway or weather conditions. Alternatively, they may misjudge how fast other vehicles are traveling or follow behind them too closely,
  • Performance. Drivers - especially inexperienced ones - may panic during a highway emergency. This could then cause them to make poor judgment calls and overcompensate while attempting to regain directional controls.

Inadequate driver training

When driversdon't receive sufficient training before climbing aboard their big rigs, they pose hazards to everyone else who shares the highways with them.

This is particularly worrisome since trucking is an expanding industry. The coming three decades will see an influx of 40 percent more freight being hauled, as projected by the federal Department of Transportation (DOT). This increase in volume in combination with the shortage of truckers with valid commercial driver's licenses (CDLs) could lead to trucking companies hiring more inexperienced drivers who lack proper training.

The FMCSA is now looking into the minimum training requirements for truck drivers. Their focus includes:

  • Experience behind-the-wheel
  • Length of classroom instruction
  • CDL certification training programs
  • Accreditation of trucking schools
  • Qualifications of instructors
  • The curricula for hazardous materials, property and passenger carriers

Equipment failures

Drivers are only as safe as the trucks that they drive. Mechanical breakdowns can lead to catastrophic accidents. According to the statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's (IIHS) fatal causation study, 55 percent of trucking accidents with injuries were attributed partially to one or more mechanical failures.

The Institute's research also revealed that 30 percent of commercial trucks had one or more out-of-service equipment problem.

If you were injured in an accident with a commercial truck, you deserve to learn about all available avenues to financial compensation.

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