What are the most common causes of truck accidents?
By GNGF on January 20th, 2023 in
Driver fatigue is one of the leading common causes of truck accidents on our roadways. Trucking companies push their drivers to stay on the road as long as possible no matter the consequences. Often, profits trump safety and drivers falsify their service hours records to stay out on the road. Driver distraction is also a major problem amongst truck drivers who use their smartphones despite federal law that prohibits their use while driving. The use of a smartphone can have devastating consequences in the hands of a truck driver carrying an 80,000-pound load.
In addition to driver fatigue and driver distraction, there are other common causes of truck accidents, including the following:
- Improperly trained truck drivers—Trucking companies must ensure every truck driver hired has been sufficiently trained. In general, the minimum allowable training is the CDL training course. This course lasts for almost three weeks, with forty hours of classroom training, ninety-six hours of remedial training, and thirty-two hours of over-the-road training and range hours. The Professional Truck Driving Program is much more comprehensive, lasting 20 weeks and diving deeper into logbooks, combination vehicles, driver safety, CDL standards, trip planning, and much more.
- Impaired driving can be present in some truck driving accidents. Impairment can come not only from illicit drugs but also from prescription drugs. Many prescription drugs cause drowsiness, therefore, can be dangerous for a truck driver to take while driving.
- Negligent hiring practices on the part of the trucking company include not only ensuring the driver is properly trained but also performing an extensive background check on the driver before allowing them out on the road.
- Reckless driving can include speeding, changing lanes without properly looking for vehicles, tailgating smaller vehicles, or failing to adjust speed and driving to road and weather conditions.
- Shifting or falling cargo causes a significant number of accidents. The loading company must ensure the cargo is properly loaded, and the driver should double-check this before starting the trip. If a truck is turning and the cargo shifts, the truck can end up turning over, causing an accident for other drivers.
- Poorly maintained trucks can be the cause of a truck accident, particularly bald tires and bad brakes. The maintenance company should ensure the truck is road-ready, and if they do not, they may be partially responsible for the truck accident.
Are commercial truck drivers required to have a special driver’s license?
Truck drivers who drive 18-wheelers are required to possess a Commercial Driver’s License, also called a CDL. Bus drivers are also required to carry a CDL. If you are involved in an accident with a larger vehicle, it is important to know whether the driver is required to carry a CDL and whether that driver in fact has met all of the requirements necessary to qualify and maintain their CDL.
While all truck drivers must have a CDL license, there are different classes of these licenses. If a driver has a Class A CDL license, he or she can operate a variety of vehicles with a gross weight of 26,001 pounds or higher. With the proper endorsements, a driver with a Class A CDL can also operate Class B and Class C vehicles. Class A vehicles include tractor-trailers, tankers, truck/trailer combos, commercial livestock carriers, and large flatbed trucks.
A Class B CDL license allows a truck driver to operate a single vehicle that weighs up to 26,001 pounds. A Class B CDL also allows a driver to operate a towing vehicle, so long as the towed vehicle does not weigh more than 10,000 pounds. Class B vehicles include large buses, dump trucks with small trailers, delivery box trucks, segmented buses, and straight trucks.
A Class C CDL covers those vehicles that are not included in a Class A or Class B CDL, including small truck/trailer combos, HAZMAT transport vehicles, and vehicles that are used to transport 16 or more people. Prior to taking the CDL test, a driver must acquire their commercial learner’s permit, complete all the necessary driving miles, and wait fourteen days before applying for their actual license. It’s important that every truck driver on the road has the proper CDL license and corresponding training. It is also worth noting that no amount of training can prevent even the best truck driver from succumbing to committing one of the common causes of truck accidents occasionally on the roadway.
How the Harmonson Law Firm Can Help
Harmonson Law Firm lives by its motto of keeping you first. Every client is important to us—their lives, their problems, and their futures. We understand that facing an unexpected, life-altering injury is difficult enough aside from worrying about your finances and how to pay for your medical expenses.
We believe you should not have to deal with an insurance company determined to devalue or deny your claim while you are attempting to heal from severe, perhaps catastrophic injuries from your truck accident. Attorneys Clark Harmonson and Hadley Huchton have the necessary experience, skills, and knowledge to ensure you receive a full and fair settlement following your truck accident. Contact an experienced and compassionate truck accident attorney from Harmonson Law Firm today. Please note that nothing herein is meant as legal advice specifically related to your case.