Accident or collisions involving a commercial truck can be identified by unique dangers and complications brought by the fact that the average 18 wheeler ways at least 25 times that of a typical passenger vehicle, commercial trucks are known to carry risky cargo such as hazardous or flammable materials, larger vehicles are more susceptible to jackknifing or turning accidents, truck drivers are under unique pressures which can contribute to increased driver error.1
Causes of Commercial Trucking Accidents
Auto accidents involving big rigs or 18-wheelers occur for numerous reasons, but two of the primary causes are the behaviors of both passenger vehicle and commercial truck drivers.
Passenger vehicle driver errors are normally attributed to unsafe maneuvers taken in ignorance of a commercial trucks limits or capabilities.2 These driver errors include driving in the no-zone (areas behind or beside a commercial truck where there is minimal or zero visibility), abrupt lane changes, misjudging an approaching truck’s speed, improper lane merging, failure to slow down or speed up in relation to the distance away from a commercial truck, passing a truck in a way that allows the lighter passenger vehicle to be blown out of position by air turbulence or cross winds, driving between two large trucks, or abandoning or moving a disabled vehicle not completely out of the way of the flow of traffic.3
Even though there are numerous reasons why passenger vehicle drivers can be responsible for trucking accidents, there are also many common truck driver errors that lead to collisions. Inadequate training with regards to driving technique, safety concerns, and defensive driving maneuvers can all contribute to commercial truck accidents.4 This includes truck drivers who engage in forms of aggressive driving such as tailgating or rapid lane changing to combat the stress of dealing with other drivers. Most commercial truck drivers are not paid an hourly rate or salary, but instead are paid per mile which this form or system of compensation often encourages faster vehicle speeds, engaging in more hours of consecutive truck operation, driving drowsy, or driving under a medicated state, because of the use of caffeine pills or stimulants.5 Another source of commercial truck error arises from unrealistic schedules set by trucking companies that encourage drivers to make risky decisions.6 For instance, drivers are often in a constant state of hurry, this pressure allows for mistakes not only in the driving or operation, but during cargo loading or truck inspections.7
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration recognizes critical reasons for driver error to include nonperformance caused when a driver falls asleep or physically impaired, recognition issues caused by driver inattentiveness or distraction, decision problems when drivers make an error in their trucks speed, distance, or capabilities, or performance problems when a driver panics, overcompensates, or exercises poor directional control. No matter how a driver’s error is categorized, any instance in which a commercial truck driver inadequately, carelessly, or negligently operates a large commercial vehicle there is a risk for a serious auto accident.
Contact an Experienced St. Louis Personal Injury Attorney for a Free Consultation
If you’ve been involved or injured in an auto accident with a commercial truck, it is important to discuss the circumstances of your injury with an experienced auto accident attorney who can help to protect your legal rights and interests. To contact a personal injury attorney for a free consultation please feel free to call the The Bruning Law Firm trial attorneys at 314-735-8100.
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If you or someone you care about has been seriously injured in an auto accident, contact The Bruning Law Firm today. We provide the comprehensive, professional legal representation you deserve at a time when you need it most.
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