Why Are Truckers Involved in So Many Injury Accidents?
Why Are Truckers Involved in So Many Injury Accidents?
In 2021, the number of commercial trucks involved in a fatal crash rose virtually 10 percent to 4,657 from 2016’s 4,251, according to the National Motor Carrier Safety Administration (NMCSA). We’ve also learned from the NMCSA that the number of large trucks involved in injury crashes increased by 5 percent, from 102,000 to 107,000. Here’s why.
Common Causes of Trucking Accidents
- Fatigue: Most over-the-road (OTR) truckers are overworked. They drive long distances for many hours with very little rest. This is commonly caused by their trucking company employers that demand load delivery schedules that run contrary to several new federal laws and regulations meant to keep fatigued drivers off the road. So in order to keep their jobs, drivers feel the pressure to deliver their loads “on time” (even if the “scheduled” delivery time is unreasonable). So drivers get less sleep and drive more. Accumulated fatigue causes many to lose concentration and fall asleep behind the wheel.
- Alcohol and Drug Use: Many OTR drivers use alcohol and drugs (illegal or prescribed) while behind the wheel. Some only take them only when they stop and rest. Others take them while on the road. No matter how they are used, drivers become impaired and then cause accidents.
- Poor Driver Training and Truck Maintenance: Before drivers can be allowed behind the wheel of a commercial truck, they must pass a series of tests after many hours of training. But, not all “approved” drivers follow the rules they’ve been taught. That’s when you get a poorly trained and inexperienced truck driver behind the wheel; which is an accident waiting to happen.
Truck owners are also legally required to keep their rigs in top condition before they hit the road. Seldom will owners do that due to the costs, and because a truck in the shop is “not earning.” Poorly maintained trucks; when driven by poorly trained drivers, cause a lot of wrecks, injury and death.
Speeding and Overtaking: Since snarled roads conspire to make truckers run behind schedule, drivers find themselves under additional pressure to meet delivery deadlines. In order to keep their jobs, drivers break the speed limit to “make up time.” This significantly reduces driver reaction time. Then, if they must hit their brakes immediately, or suddenly veer into another lane, a wreck often happens.
Distracted Drivers: When driving long distances, truckers get bored and need something to occupy them. This urge sends them to their cell phones to read, send or reply to text messages, make phone calls or browse the web. Changing the radio station also distracts a driver. Even when a trucker takes his eyes off the road for a fraction of a second, that’s all it sometimes takes for a distracted trucker to hit a family car; with tragic consequences.
Catastrophic accidents between truckers and drivers happen every day in New York City, and for all the above reasons. New York is a destination for cargo hauling trucks and drivers. Many can be just a few miles from delivering their cargo. Maybe their minds wander a bit and then it happens. They hit someone: maybe you and your family on the BQE or the Triborough.
How truckers can avoid wrecks?
How Safe Drivers Can Avoid Getting in an Accident with a Big Rig
In 2021, the number of commercial trucks involved in fatal crashes rose 10 percent to 4,657 from 4,251 the previous year, according to the National Motor Carrier Safety Administration (NMCSA).
Simple actions by passenger vehicle drivers can help them avoid these dangerous drivers that outweigh the family car or SUV by tens of thousands of pounds.
Follow these rules and your chances of not being involved in a devastating truck wreck improve dramatically. These same rules for safety apply to sharing the road with large tour busses.
- Stay out of Blind Spots: Large trucks have huge blind spots on all four sides. If you can’t see the driver in the vehicle’s an outside mirror, they can’t see you. Don’t drive in a truck’s blind spot. Slow down or move ahead. Stay visible and take extra care when merging or changing lanes.
- Pass Safely: Again, make sure the driver sees you in their rearview mirror. Signal clearly then move into the left lane and accelerate so you can get past the truck quickly. Don’t linger in the blind spot. Once you’ve passed the big rig, and you can see the truck driver in your inside rearview mirror, signal, then gradually pull into the right lane. Don’t crowd the truck by merging into the right lane too soon, or too quickly.
- Don’t Cut it Close: It’s especially dangerous to “cut off” a commercial truck. If you move in quickly, you’ll likely be in a blind spot. Even if you’re visible, the trucker may not be able to slow quickly enough to avoid a crash when you cut him off while merging into its lane.
- Don’t Tailgate: Tailgating a truck puts you in another blind spot. Because trucks are high off the ground, your vehicle could slide (or get pushed) under a truck if it suddenly stops. Stay back when both you and the truck are stopped, especially on an upgrade, where a truck could rollback.
- Anticipate Wide Turns – Trucks need extra turning room. They swing wide or may start a turn from an inside lane. Never try to squeeze by or get between a turning truck and the curb. Never “block the box” (intersection) or stop in front of the line of vehicles. And never pass a large truck on the right, especially near an intersection.
- Be Patient: Trucks need time to accelerate and many have speed limiters (governors). This requires tolerance from other drivers. Honking, driving aggressively, or weaving through traffic can cause dangerous distractions and tragic crashes whether there are trucks around or not.
- Stay Focused – Do not drive distracted, for any reason, especially around an 18 wheeler.
Distracted driving is as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Don’t Drive Fatigued – Take regular breaks, get another driver to relieve you, or get off the road and find a safe place to rest. There are enough fatigued truckers on the road. Don’t add to the problem.
- Never Drive Under the Influence – Alcohol and other drugs impair judgment and reaction time. And prescription medications and over-the-counter drugs may cause dizziness, sleepiness and/or slow reaction times. If your medication carries a warning to not drive while taking your meds, have someone else drive.
According to a survey by the American Trucking Association, nearly 80 percent of car-truck crashes are caused by car drivers. Follow these safety rules and you have a much better chance of avoiding a serious accident with an 18 wheeler.
Whether you or a family member was injured due to a car accident, commercial vehicle accident, big truck accident, or semi-truck accident, you may be entitled to full benefits and compensation. Know your rights and get the answers you deserve. The attorneys at Kalra Law Firm are dedicated to getting car accident victims the compensation they deserve. Call our office now to speak with one of our experienced car accident lawyers to represent you in your case. We offer a free initial consultation and will not charge unless we win your case. Call our New York City and Queens car accident lawyers today if you have any questions about a car accident you were involved in. Call us at (718) 897-2211 www.unionlawyer.com
So drive defensively at all times. And be very watchful to avoid danger from an out-of-control truck.
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