What kind of driver error causes truck accidents?
Like the drivers of passenger vehicles, big rig drivers have a duty to operate their trucks safely and responsibly. Perhaps even more than passenger vehicle drivers, truck drivers must take precautions to ensure the safety of others on the road.
Due to the size, weight, and velocity of their rig, a truck driver’s error can cause devastating injury, property damage, and even death.
Cars don’t stand a chance against semi trucks’ permissible weight of 80,000 pounds and dimensions of 70 to 80 feet in length. With 40% more time to brake than cars, it’s no wonder big rigs are notoriously susceptible to causing accidents. But it’s not just the truck that’s responsible – it’s the driver.
Here are some of the most common errors that truck drivers make:
Truck Driver Fatigue
Truckers are only allowed to drive a certain number of hours before they must rest. Due to the high demand placed on truck drivers to meet delivery deadlines, these regulations are often stretched, if not ignored altogether.
Truckers may drive no more than 11 hours after they have rested for 10 consecutive hours. In addition, they may not drive more than 60 hours within seven days, or 70 hours within eight days. That clock restarts after at least 34 consecutive hours off-duty. There are other rules in place, but these are the most common.
Continuing work past the 11-hour limit is dangerous. Driver fatigue severely impairs one’s ability to drive safely, and if a trucker hasn’t slept after working 12+ hours, they’re more likely to drift into another lane, run off the road, or make another mistake that could injure or kill other drivers.
Failing to Check Blind Spots
Due to the size of semi trucks, there are large blind spots in the front and back of the trucks, in addition to the sides. These “no zones” should be avoided by other drivers. On the left of the truck, truck drivers are unable to see the next lane over along the side of their trailer. On the right, they are unable to see the two lanes along the side of the trailer.
Truck drivers are also unable to see the first 20 feet in front of the cab, and the 30-foot area directly behind them. Avoiding driving in these areas can help deter truck accidents, but they can’t wholly prevent them. If a trucker fails to check their blind spots or is trying aggressively to get into another lane, they may pull in front of a car that they didn’t see and cause a collision.
Being Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs
In 2017, 839 truck drivers received violations for being under the influence of alcohol or drugs while on the job. These are grossly irresponsible decisions on their part as they have a duty to operate their rig with care and caution.
Alcohol and other drugs slow reaction time and dull reflexes, aspects that are critical for truckers to keep other drivers safe. If you were in an accident caused by a truck driver who was under the influence, you need to hold them responsible for their actions. The injury or damage they caused was completely preventable, and you need compensation to recover and move past the accident.
Call the Law Offices of Andrew Goldner at (404) 869-1580 to learn your legal options and take the first step in getting the money you deserve.
Texting While Driving and Other Distractions
When a trucker is hauling several tons of cargo and decides to send or check their text messages, the results can be disastrous. By now everyone knows the dangers of texting and driving, and although recent regulations and penalties have helped quell the prevalence of texting behind the wheel, many drivers – including truck drivers – continue to do so.
Many truck drivers receive dispatch instructions on their cell phones on where to pick up and drop off cargo. Truck drivers face deadly consequences for taking their eyes off the road. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) found that truck drivers look at their phones for 4.6 seconds on average and those truck drivers who text are 23.2% more likely to be involved in a crash than those who do not. They may deviate from their lane, pull in front of another vehicle inappropriately, or make another mistake that causes injury and death to other drivers.
Negligent or distracted truck drivers need to be held accountable for their actions. An Atlanta truck accident attorney at the Law Offices of Andrew Goldner will work to prove that the truck driver was negligent in their actions and help you pursue compensation for your injuries. To speak with a professional and schedule your free, no-obligation case consultation, call (404) 869-1580 today.