The trucking industry is responsible for moving products throughout the supply chain for a variety of different purposes. Among the many essential functions they serve, truckers help transport personal items for individuals, products for retailers, and supplies for other businesses. The industry continues to grow, with demand for more truckers to support the increasing need for moving items across the country. Unfortunately, trucking accidents are not uncommon. In fact, in 2020, there were approximately 107,000 accidents in which someone was injured that involved a large truck.
Accidents involving trucks are often severe, resulting in serious injuries, extensive property damage, and sometimes death. This is because of the sheer size and weight of large trucks, which generally do more damage than smaller motor vehicles. There is no doubt that the increased number of trucks on the roads leads to a higher probability of collisions, but there are other factors that have contributed to a rise in the number of injuries related to trucks.
Why trucking collisions happen
Each collision involving a truck involves its own unique set of circumstances, but some of the most common causes are:
- Speeding and reckless driving by drivers that are overworked, running late, or under the influence: These dangerous driving situations can cause truckers to disregard essential safety protocols that protect themselves, their cargo, and other vehicles on the road.
- Hiring inexperienced drivers: A shortage of drivers has resulted in some companies hiring drivers that have little experience or training. This can lead to drivers engaging in improper or unbalanced cargo loading, failing to brake or turn safely, and failing to recognize dangerous mechanical issues.
- Distractions caused by cell phones and electronic devices: With the prevalent use of cell phones, GPS, and other electronic devices, drivers are more distracted than ever before. Drivers who are behind the wheel of a truck are responsible to control the additional weight of the cargo and the length of a trailer. As a result, a couple of seconds of distraction can prove to be disastrous.
- Appointments for deliveries and pick-ups: Requiring a driver to meet an unrealistic deadline may cause him or her to work longer hours with minimal sleep and may result in extra stress. Driving while tired or drowsy reduces a driver’s ability to be alert and reactive when necessary, leading to a potential for collisions.
- Poor truck maintenance: Trucks must be maintained pursuant to certain standards and at regular intervals. Sometimes drivers or owners want to avoid paying for and performing regular maintenance, which can mean that the truck is off of the roadway and not in use. This sometimes leads to unsafe mechanical conditions and collisions due to worn tires, faulty brakes, or engine failure.
Eliminating trucking accidents altogether may not be possible, but taking necessary safety precautions and avoiding common causes of trucking accidents can make the road safer for everyone.