Why Are Trucking Accidents So Common?
Written by Cooper and Friedman on January 21, 2020
Trucking is a very dangerous job. It is listed as one of the ten deadliest professions with a driver’s fatality rate being more than six times the national average. However, this profession isn’t just risky for people inside a truck, but also individuals around it. Back in 2014, 3,660 accident-related deaths involved a collision with a big truck or bus. A massive 18-wheeler moving at reasonable speeds can flatten anything its path. Here’s a look at 4 reasons why trucking accidents are so common:
Weight and Stopping Distance
Larger vehicles have a longer stopping distance because there’s a lot of force behind their momentum. When a truck stops, it must resist the weight of an entire trailer without becoming destabilized. Here’s a look at a comparison:
- An average car weighs around 2.5 tons and will travel approximately 300 feet before coming to a full stop if it’s going at 40mph.
- A big truck weighs around 40 tons and will travel approximately 525 feet before coming to a full stop when it is moving at 40mph.
This clearly illustrates just how difficult braking or avoiding an obstacle can be. Sometimes a driver sees an obstacle but can’t avoid it. If the obstacle is well within a large vehicle’s stopping distance, there’s no way to save it.
Speeding or Overtaking
Truck drivers learn to control speeding early in training, but that doesn’t mean they always play safe. Many of them travel at high speeds, especially on relatively empty roads. The combination of speed and weight can increase your vehicle’s stopping distance considerably.
If a heavy object is traveling at high speeds, it requires more force to stop. Speeding trucks have a very high chance off being involved in accidents. Even highly vigilant drivers can become involved in fatal accidents if they speed.
According to a Large Truck Crash Causation Study, 27% of trucks involved in accidents experienced brake problems. Around 3% experienced tire problems just before the reported crash. A large number of active trucks have a poor maintenance record. Trucking companies cut corners to save money, especially on maintenance or repairs. These vehicles travel over a long distance, which means they experience a lot of wear and tear.
A combination of poor maintenance and regular use takes its toll, compromising essential components like brakes, tires, suspension, etc. Drivers can’t do much when these vital systems fail. They lose control of their truck and get into accidents.
A large number of truck accidents happen because of human error. Drivers were unfamiliar with the route, in 19% of the crashes studied, and 10% of drivers felt pressured by trucking companies to take up more deliveries or get things delivered within a certain amount of time. Around 7% claimed to be overly tired, which is a common complaint among busy truck drivers. Sometimes accidents happen because loaders haven’t secured heavy cargo properly. If the cargo moves during transit, it can disrupt a truck’s balance and its driver’s control.
In most cases, drivers can’t be held responsible for accidents. The pressure exerted by trucking companies often places them at risk. They are overworked, often drive at night, don’t get enough sleep, and have unhealthy eating habits. All of these factors contribute to an accident. That’s why many truck accident-related personal injury cases are complicated because lawyers struggle to establish liability.
Other factors include distraction, driving under the influence of controlled substances, poor weather conditions, poor road conditions, etc. Large vehicles are more vulnerable to these risk factors than personal cars, which is why trucking accidents are common.
When you hire Cooper and Friedman PLLC as your truck accident attorneys, your case will never be passed off to a paralegal or secretary. Your case will be handled directly by one of our experienced truck accident attorneys. Our team has been defending the rights of accident victims across the State of Kentucky and Southern Indiana since 1993. For additional information about our firm or a free case consultation, please call us now at 502-459-7555.