Every year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 500,000 truck accidents occur, resulting in approximately 5,000 deaths. Even when an accident does not result in fatal wounds, survivors are often left with catastrophic injuries that alter their lives forever. Although the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has many strict regulations in place to help prevent these accidents, many truck drivers and their employers still engage in dangerous practices that result in disastrous accidents.
Understanding Why These Accidents Happen
Oftentimes, truck drivers face unrealistic expectations from their employers, prompting them to drive recklessly, which increases the risk of an accident. However, there are other individuals besides truck drivers and their employers who can be responsible for an accident.
Here are some of the most common causes of trucking accidents:
- Driver fatigue: Truck drivers travel long distances for many hours with few opportunities for rest. To prevent truck driver fatigue, there are several rules stating how often breaks should be taken and how many consecutive hours employees are allowed to drive. Unfortunately, when these regulations are not complied with, accidents can happen. A driver who is substantially fatigued can be just as dangerous as one who is drunk.
- Substance abuse: It is also not uncommon for truck drivers to use drugs or alcohol while on the job. Not only is this behavior dangerous, but it is illegal and a common cause of truck accidents.
- Speeding and reckless driving: Again, the deadlines set for truck drivers are not always reasonable or achievable. To reach their destination within a given timeframe, drivers will speed or drive recklessly due to the pressures they are under and the fear of losing their jobs. At high speeds, however, one’s ability to react to obstacles on the road is significantly reduced.
- Inadequate training and poor truck maintenance: Truck drivers are required to put in a certain number of training hours before they are allowed to drive a commercial trick. If employers cut corners on training, the drivers they hire might not be prepared to fulfill the expectations of this demanding job. Moreover, truck owners are also required to ensure the truck they use are in excellent condition before they hit the road. If they cut corners on this requirement as well, it is a recipe for disaster.
- Distracted driving: Truck drivers are on the road for hours on end. To keep themselves occupied, they might text, make a phone call, or even scroll through their social media feed while driving. Looking away from the road for even a moment is incredibly dangerous, however, and frequently leads to accidents.
Given the numerous causes of truck accidents, it is also not uncommon for more than one party to be held liable, so be sure to hire skilled legal assistance as soon as possible to ensure you are appropriately compensated.
Discuss Your Truck Accident with an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney!
If you were severely injured in a truck accident, you will need knowledgeable and compassionate legal guidance. At Scarzafava, Basdekis & Dadey, PLLC, our team is committed to protecting the rights of the wrongfully injured and will help you hold the responsible party accountable.
Call us at (607) 228-8404 for a free consultation.