What Are the Major Causes of Trucking Accidents in Texas?
Truck Driver Tiredness and Fatigue
One cause of trucking accidents is truck driver tiredness and fatigue, which is often brought on by truck drivers working too many hours without sufficient breaks in between. Despite the risk of doing so, truck drivers are incentivized to deliver as many goods in as little time as possible. As a result, they become overworked and fatigued, exposing them to a greater risk of becoming involved in or causing accidents. In an effort to deter truck drivers from overworking themselves and contributing to trucking accidents, specific laws have been put in place which dictate the amount of time that a truck driver is allowed to be on the road in any given period of time. These laws are referred to as "hours of service" laws, and they prohibit truck drivers from driving 11 or more hours in a consecutive 14-hour period following and 10 consecutive off-duty hours; driving more than 14 hours in a 24-hour period; logging more than 60 hours in a seven-day consecutive period and logging more than 70 hours in an eight-day consecutive period.
Poor or Improper Truck Maintenance
To ensure the safety and proper maintenance of all trucks, there is a requirement that truck drivers, truck owners and truck leasing companies regularly inspect their tractor trailer and keep accurate and current maintenance logs. This applies to big rigs, bucket trucks tractor trailers and 18 wheelers, and should be done before the vehicle hits the road. When a truck or commercial vehicle's maintenance is overlooked or neglected, the truck driver is placed at an increased risk of causing a serious accident.
A common cause of trucking accidents is equipment failure, which is most likely to occur due to poorly maintained or defective brakes, tires and wheels, steering wheels, trailer attachments, suspension systems, transmissions, and doors or hoods. The danger associated with equipment failure is magnified by the size and speed of many heavy commercial trucks. However, these types of accidents can be avoided adhering to part 396 of the FMCSA regulations, which deals with the inspection, repair and maintenance of these semi-trucks and tractor-trailers.
In more recent years, smartphones, mobile phones, ipads and similar devices have become increasingly popular. The increased accessibility and prevalence of these devices has allowed for truck drivers to text, take phone calls, watch videos and use apps while driving. As a result, the number of accidents caused by distracted truck driving has increased. Before this influx, the FMCSA conducted a causation study to determine the factors that lead to distracted driving by truck drivers. If that same study were to be repeated today, there's little doubt that cells phones and similar devices would be shown to contribute significantly to distracted driving and thus to trucking accidents.
Texting Truck Drivers
The problems associated with cell phones and distracted driving are perhaps worsened by the fact that truck drivers are allowed to (and often need to) send text messages to their employers, delivery drop points or family members who need to know their location or schedule. This is problematic, because taking one's eyes off of the road for even a couple of seconds can result in an accident, as it leaves truck drivers unware of potential dangers around them. When a trucking accident does occur due to a truck truck driver who was texting, the driver is often reluctant to give that information. This is where we come in; we consider it our job to work with investigators in determining the true cause of trucking accidents.
Speeding Truck Drivers
Speeding is particularly dangerous for truck drivers due to the weight of the semis and 18 wheelers. Braking quickly is hard even when driving at an appropriate speed. When a truck driver is speeding, they create a greater risk of a semi-truck rollover. If a tractor-trailer is carrying hazardous or heavy cargo at the time of a rollover, then the wreck could be even more damaging.
Unsafe Driving Practices
Many people get accustomed to unsafe driving practices, such as following drivers too closely, shifting lanes improperly and failing to yield when necessary. Due to the size of commercial trucks, truck drivers who adopt these same practices run the risk of causing particularly disastrous accidents and harming others on the road.
- Failure to Check for Blind Spots:
Given the size of most commercial trucks, blind spots are of particular concern for truck drivers. In fact, blind spots are to blame for the majority of truck accidents involving serious injury or death.
- Frequent Lane Changes:
Lane-change accidents can be caused by truck drivers who neglect to use their turn signal, make improper lane changes in intersections, or weave unnecessarily or recklessly between lanes.
- Failure to Use Turn Signals:
If the driver of a passenger vehicle fails to signal before crossing over into a truck driver's lane, the truck driver will have less time to react and hit their brakes in order to avoid hitting that vehicle. Similarly, if a truck driver crosses over into the lane of a passenger vehicle without warning, the driver will be caught off guard and less able to avoid the danger of colliding with such a large vehicle.
- Following too Closely:
The length of time required to bring large commercial trucks to complete stops is much greater than it is for passenger vehicles. This makes "tail-gaiting" or following vehicles too closely particularly dangerous for truck drivers. The presence of tractor-trailers or ill-maintained brake systems can further enhance the level of danger and increase the risk of an accident.
Inadequate or Improper Training
Some truck drivers do not receive the proper training or do not have the experience necessary to safely operate and maintain control of the large vehicles they drive. This is because many trucking companies can get away with paying inexperienced drivers lower wages, thus increasing the company's own profit. By attempting to cut corners in this way, trucking companies put their truck drivers and the general public in unnecessary danger.
Unfamiliarity with Roads or Inexperienced Driving
An inherent danger in the trucking industry is the truck drivers' unfamiliarity with the roads on which they travel. While some truck drivers primarily stick to the same route and thus become accustomed to potential sources of danger, other truck drivers are regularly given entirely new routes in different states. Without the benefit of knowing what to expect on a particular road, truck drivers are more likely to be unprepared when encountering potential sources of danger. In addition, with the goal of delivering as many goods as they can in as little time as possible, they are less likely to compensate for their unfamiliarity by slowing down.
Trucking companies sometimes make the decision to overload their tractor trailers with more goods than the truck is designed to carry. This is dangerous, because an overloaded truck places the driver at an increased risk of getting into an accident. Also, an overloaded truck or 18 wheeler may be more likely to have unsecured cargo on board. Unsecured cargo presents a serious danger to other drivers, as it is more likely to come loose and fall off while the truck is in movement. In fact, it has been determined that if a 20-pound object were to fall off of a truck moving at 55 miles per hour, then it would hit another object (such as a passenger vehicle) with a half-ton of force.
Road construction accidents can result from a variety of causes, including failure to notice or obey traffic signs, aggressive driving, distracted driving, illegal and improper lane changes or maneuvers, driver fatigue, driving under the influence and speeding. When a truck driver exhibits unsafe practices such as these, they put construction workers at an increased risk of injury.
- Types of Road Construction Truck Accidents:
Due to the shapes and sizes of many road construction trucks, they are prone to accidents including fixed-object collisions; head-on collisions; no-zone accidents; rear-end collisions; sideswipe collisions; tire blowouts.
Weather and Road Condition
Weather and certain road conditions can present dangerous challenges for truck drivers. Semi-trucks have a high center of gravity. When carrying heavy loads, they are sensitive to even small movements. The combination of these factors can easily lead a truck to tip over. In addition, certain types of weather can exacerbate these conditions and make it more likely for an accident to occur.
If you have been injured by a negligent truck driver, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (281) 993-0000 today.
Injured in a Trucking Accident?
Get Fair Compensation!
Call today for your free consultation & strategy session.
- What to Do If Injured in a Semi-Truck Accident
- Vital Info for Truck Wreck Victims
- How to Find Your Accident Report
- Five Reasons to Hire a Semi-Truck Accident Attorney
- How should I deal with the trucking company's insurance adjuster?
- What is my truck accident claim worth?
- Does use of a cell phone by a truck driver make them 100% negligent?
- See more...