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Common Causes of Truck Accidents

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Common Causes of Truck Accidents

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The consequences of truck accidents tend to be severe. A loaded truck can weigh 76,000 pounds more than a standard passenger vehicle, therefore can cause intense damage to the drivers, passengers, as well as any other cars or property around them. It is the job of both the truck driver and trucking company to hold themselves to high standards of safety and ensure they are following business practices which ensure the safety of not only their own trucks, but everyone who has to share the road with them. According to CDL Knowledge, 69% of fatalities in trucking accidents were to occupants of cars/passenger vehicles, 16% of fatalities were to truck occupants, and 15% of fatalities were to pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists. Trucks take significantly more time to come to a stop due to the physics of their size and weight, and the inability to brake in time to prevent a collision is one of the primary factors in a lot of truck accidents.

According to CDL Knowledge, some common causes of truck accidents are as follows:

  • Prescription drugs: 26% of truck accidents.
  • Traveling too fast: 23% of truck accidents.
  • Over-the-counter drugs: 17% of truck accidents.
  • Fatigue: 13% of truck accidents.
  • Alcohol: 8% of truck accidents.
  • Illegal drugs: 3% of truck accidents.

The truck driver or the trucking company itself could be held accountable depending on who is responsible for the driving mistake.

Often the choice to use drugs to stay awake longer on the road is a choice made by independent drivers, usually not by employees of large trucking companies, which have strict rules regarding drug usage. Conversely, fatigue is often an error which the trucking company and possibly the driver can be held accountable for depending on the situation. Unfortunately, many trucking companies will pressure their drivers to stay on the road longer than regulations allow, and to refrain from taking necessary rest breaks designed to prevent driver fatigue and the dangerous situations that follow.

Many trucks are equipped with tracking technology and dashboard cameras.

The good news for anyone involved in a truck accident is that most trucks are equipped with technology that tracks the driver’s starting and ending destination, speed, location where the accident occurred, and the truck driver’s behavior before, during, and after the accident. Additionally, modern trucks often have cameras that record the drivers themselves as well as the area around their vehicle.

Here are some signs which could indicate a truck is exhibiting dangerous behavior:

  • Swerving
  • Braking too fast
  • Driving in the wrong lane
  • Straddling two lanes
  • Speeding
  • Violating traffic directions

It’s important to exercise extra caution when sharing the road with a large truck.

If a truck driver doesn’t see you or is otherwise affected by drugs, fatigue, or any other factor, it’s important to have enough space between your vehicle and the truck to allow you to move out of the way of the truck and avoid being caught in a collision. If you do find yourself involved in a truck accident, it’s wise to seek legal counsel as soon as possible after being checked out by a doctor. There may be important evidence from the scene of the accident or technology from within the truck itself to support your case, but the trucking companies’ legal teams may delete or alter that evidence before you can get to it if a legal professional isn’t involved on your behalf on time. If you have questions regarding your rights and eligibility for compensation after a truck accident, contact a lawyer to see what can be done to protect yourself and your family.

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