Three Most Dangerous Mistakes Made by Truck Drivers
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Tad Thomas with Thomas Law Offices.
Truck driving can be a grueling profession with many challenges; while most truck drivers are well-trained and highly skilled individuals, when a truck driver fails to prioritize safety, the results can be disastrous. While there are many possible causes for a truck accident, some mistakes made by truck drivers are considered more dangerous than others.
Three of the most dangerous mistakes a truck driver can make include:
- Violating hours of service guidelines. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issues guidelines designed to protect truck drivers and others on the road from serious driving mistakes. Due to the fact that truck drivers spend a lot of time on the road away from home and typically work long hours, the FMCSA has created strict guidelines regarding how long a driver is allowed to travel before pausing for a rest. If a driver fails to stop for these breaks or falsifies these breaks in their driving log, they could be liable if an accident occurs. Fatigued driving is considered equally dangerous to driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs, so it's easy to see how serious accidents can occur when a driver does not get the rest that they need. Unfortunately, pressure from trucking companies can add to this danger, as they may encourage drivers to push themselves beyond their safe driving limits.
- Speeding—especially in poor weather. Speeding is dangerous for any vehicle; an accident that might have been relatively minor at lower speeds can be severe and even fatal when it occurs while speeding. However, a semi-truck speeding along the highway is likely to do a lot more damage than a standard passenger vehicle, due primarily to the increased size, weight, and velocity of tractor-trailers compared to standard vehicles. Unfortunately, speeding in poor weather conditions is a particularly common driving mistake and could be made worse by trucking companies that pressure their drivers to reach a destination as soon as possible. In general, if a truck is not moving, the company is not making money. Trucks in particular are expected to slow down in wet, slick, or otherwise hazardous conditions to avoid a serious accident.
- Alcohol and drug use. Fortunately, drug and alcohol use is not particularly common among truck drivers. However, it is listed as one of the most dangerous mistakes a truck driver can make because the consequences of doing so are extremely severe. Drunk driving accidents are notorious for being catastrophic and tragic for the families involved. Unsurprisingly, the damages that can occur when a truck driver operates their vehicle while impaired can be even more severe. Truck drivers are not only required to uphold the basic traffic safety rules that every driver is expected to follow, but are also held to higher standards of responsibility due to the fact that the vehicles they operate can cause extreme damage in the event of a collision.
If you or a loved one were injured in a truck accident and suspect the driver made a mistake that either caused or contributed to the crash, you may be eligible to seek compensation. The damages that can occur in an accident between a passenger vehicle and a semi-truck can involve extensive medical bills and lost wages, not to mention physical pain, discomfort, and life changes both during and after recovery. The good news is that most truck accident attorneys offer free consultations and work on contingency; this means that clients only pay if and when they win their case.
To learn more about dangerous mistakes truck drivers can make or to have your own situation evaluated by an expert, reach out to an experienced truck accident attorney in your area.