Semi-trucks constitute dangerous pieces of large machinery. They can prove deadly if not operated properly. Thousands of people die each year in semi-truck accidents. Most of the time, the victims are drivers and passengers of smaller private-use vehicles that can’t handle a collision with something several times their own weight and strength.
Statistics show that semi-truck accidents result in around 5,000 deaths each year in the United States. Approximately 700 semi-truck drivers and their passengers died in these large-scale accidents
Common Causes of Semi-Truck Injuries
Of course, many things cause semi-truck accidents. It is not only because they have a lot of blind spots and can’t always see other vehicles beside them, or that they overcorrect or undercorrect when making turns and changing lanes.
Let’s go through several more common reasons for these accidents:
- Driver fatigue plagues truck drivers. Truck drivers can drive thousands of miles in only a few days, as they usually receive payment based on the number of miles that they drive. As a result, many truck drivers want to get as many miles per paycheck. This can serve as a dangerous goal, however. Despite federal regulations that limit the hours a driver can work in a day, this is still a serious, widespread problem. Everybody wants a big paycheck, but when truck drivers decide to put their paycheck ahead of the safety of other motorists, accidents can happen. Public safety should always be the highest priority.
- Semi-truck maintenance constitutes another common reason behind these deadly situations. Because these are extremely large and deadly vehicles, many regulations require these vehicles to remain safe when out on the road. A lot of things can go wrong with a semi-truck, like tires, for example. You can drive down any stretch of highway and see tires from a big rig shredded on the side of the road. Sometimes, when a tire blows out, it causes the driver to lose control of the truck momentarily. A lot can happen in that short amount of time. Not to mention, if a piece of tire rubber comes flying off of the truck and hits another car, all sorts of damage could occur that will likely result in a serious crash. Therefore, truck companies have to remain compliant with federal regulations. Some of the other issues regarding semi-trucks include problems with the brake system, unsafe use of trailers, and engine trouble.
- Improper loading of a semi-truck can prove a deadly mistake. If the cargo was improperly loaded because the workers wanted to rush through the process to get back on the road to earn money for miles completed, it could distribute the weight of the merchandise unevenly. Improperly loaded cargo can cause a truck to jackknife, or it can become extremely difficult to maneuver through traffic.
- Inadequate training of semi-truck drivers constitutes another reason that some drivers may struggle to effectively operate their semi-trucks safely. Countless companies rely on shipping out their products to various stores. You can see advertisements for trucking companies that are everywhere. It is an important industry that is vital to our economy. Sometimes, companies hire inexperienced drivers and put them on too many tasks that may prove difficult to handle, or the drivers may have inadequate training, so they cannot make a rational and educated decision when faced with an emergency. Truck drivers new to this position will generally charge less per mile to deliver the goods. Many companies will look to cut costs and hire people that should stay off the road until they have completed all of the training necessary to safely drive a semi-truck. This constitutes negligent hiring on the part of the trucking company.
- A distracted driver in any situation constitutes a hazard to other motorists. Truck drivers who get distracted because of long hours and tedious routes create a recipe for disaster. Many times a day, truck drivers check their GPS systems, typing addresses where they need to deliver goods and searching for restaurants where they like to eat. Trying to eat while driving also constitutes a common distraction. When semi-truck drivers engage in these activities, they are distracting themselves. A large-scale vehicle, such as a semi, causes an extremely unsafe environment for all other roadway users when the driver drives while distracted or impaired.
- For long-haul truck drivers that deliver products year-round, the weather may seem ever-changing as they go from one end of the country to the other. A person can see several types of atmospheric conditions in only a few days. If drivers fail to adjust their driving to the proper weather conditions, drivers can put themselves and other drivers at risk of an accident.
- Drugs and alcohol constitute the most well-known, accident-causing factors. However, sometimes truck drivers stop to eat and have a drink or two, or they may be under the influence of a stimulant to help them stay awake, which will only impair their ability to effectively maneuver in certain situations.
Semi-truck drivers are in control of an extremely deadly machine. Therefore, they must go through proper training and keep the vehicle in proper running order to drive safely. Anytime a truck driver fails to do everything required to ensure their truck’s safety, they create a potentially deadly environment. Unfortunately, very few people survive semi-truck accidents.
If you or someone you know has sustained injuries or died in a trucking accident, contact a highly skilled, experienced lawyer who can make sure you receive compensation for your injury or loss as soon as you can. You don’t have to go through this alone.