Some of the most catastrophic accidents seen on the roads today are caused by large commercial trucks. A study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) which reviews more than 120,000 big-rig accidents involving injuries or fatalities, concluded that 87% of the accidents were due to the negligence of the driver. Because of statistics like these, there have been many measures put in place to help prevent these types of accidents from happening. However, this has had a very minimal impact on the number of local Houston truck accidents, and truck accidents all over the country, for that matter. Here, our Houston truck accident lawyer breaks down top common causes.
5 Common Causes of Houston Truck Accidents
The most common cause of trucking accidents is drowsy driving, and this should come as no surprise. With the hours required to complete the job, the stress put on by the trucking company, and the lack of help in the industry, many drivers are on the road driving when they shouldn’t be. Many truckers sacrifice sleep to get their deliveries to their destinations within the deadline. A loss of sleep contributes to many negatives such as lost concentration, coordination, and the ability to act and think quickly—which leads to accidents.
With the long strenuous hours behind the wheel, it’s only a matter of time before distractions get the best of truck drivers. There are many things that fit under the umbrella of distracted driving, with some of the most common being:
- Cellphone usage
- Updating GPS settings
- Changing the radio
It only takes having your eyes off the road for three seconds for an accident to occur.
With such a high turnover rate in the trucking industry, it should come as no shock that there are many new drivers on the road. And while demand for commerical truck drivers is always high, that means many inexperienced drivers are hitting the highway each and every day with a vehicle much larger than the one they are used to driving.
Driving While Impaired
Driving a truck across the country can be a lonely job. With strict deadlines and schedules to adhere to, a lot of stress can be placed on a driver. Sometimes, when those two factors mix, loneliness and stress, it can lead drivers to abuse alcohol or turn to drugs to make sure they're completing their routes on time. The problem with that is, impaired drivers cause accidents, and accidents that involve semi-trucks or 18-wheelers can cause major injuries if involved in a Houston truck accident, sometimes even resulting in death.
Overtaking and Speeding
It’s no surprise that truckers are on a mission to get their delivery to its destination as quickly as humanly possible. With harsh deadlines and strict rules by their employer, truckers often have to sacrifice safety for speed, in order to not lose their job. Because of this, many truckers find themselves in situations where they “need to” overtake another big-rig, which is a dangerous maneuver that often causes oncoming drivers to veer out of the way to stay safe.