According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), in 2019, large trucks and buses increased by about 2% from the previous year, and 5,237 of these vehicles were involved in fatal crashes. Victims in truck accidents can suffer from very injuries that range in severity and that are dependent on the circumstances of the accident (i.e. where and how they crashed, what the truck was hauling, etc.).
Injuries often sustained in a truck accident include:
- Back and neck pain, such as whiplash, minor neck pain, and dislocated discs
- Head injuries, including brain injuries, concussions, and skull fractures
- Internal trauma, such as internal bleeding and organ failure or bleeding
- Seatbelt-related injuries, such as seatbelt burn or whiplash
- Spinal cord injuries, such as paralysis
- Rib and torso injuries, such as bruised ribs
- Cuts and lacerations
- Burn injuries
- Broken bones
In this article, we will outline the common causes of truck accidents. Knowing what can lead to dangerous accidents can help truck drivers and other drivers take extra precautions to better protect each other while they share the road.
How Passenger Vehicles May Cause a Truck Accident
Because car drivers are unaware of trucks’ braking ability and speed, they make decisions while drivers that can cause an accident. Unsafe driving practices that passenger vehicle drivers (or motorcyclists) commit that can cause an accident include:
- Driving in a truck’s blind spot. Large trucks have a greater size blind spot area than other vehicles, and it is best to avoid driving in their blind spots. You should either speed up to pass the cars, slow down, or switch lanes rather than drive alongside a semi-truck.
- Leaving a small distance between their vehicle and the truck. While you should leave a vehicle size space between you and other cars, you should leave even more space between you and a large truck. Tailgating can have dangerous consequences.
- Driving aggressively. Trucks can take longer to pick up speed after a stop and operate differently than smaller vehicles. Sometimes drivers can become frustrated or aggressive by speeding, trying to pass trucks illegally, and honking. These behaviors are dangerous for you and the truck driver.
- Driving while distracted. Whether they are checking their text messages, changing the music, grooming, eating, or being distracted by their passenger, car drivers can cause accidents when they do not devote the needed attention to driving.
- Driving while under the influence. If a driver is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they can make costly mistakes while operating their vehicle.
- Not accounting for dangerous weather conditions. If the weather conditions are not safe, drivers should either pull over to safety or take extra precautions, such as decreasing their speed or using their headlights.
How Commercial Truck Drivers May Cause a Truck Accident
Semi-truck drivers have a responsibility to ensure that other drivers are safe when they share the road. However, they may act recklessly or negligently by:
- Driving for long hours. Truck drivers are required to take breaks, but sometimes unrealistic schedules and expectations can lead to drivers not taking mandated breaks. Driving drowsy can lead to accidents as drivers fall asleep or swerve.
- Driving while distracted. Like car drivers, truck drivers may try to multitask, which can endanger them and others.
- Driving while intoxicated. While operating a vehicle of any size, drivers should avoid alcohol and drugs as their judgment and reaction times can be dulled.
- Not undergoing necessary training. concerning driving techniques and safety measures
- Overloading their trucks. If trucks are hauling materials, they should not exceed the legal weight limits. However, sometimes trucks are overloaded to increase profits and reduce the number of trips needed to haul materials, but exceeding the weight limits puts everyone on the road at risk.
- Speeding. Since truck drivers have such strict deadlines, they may sometimes speed to try to make their deliveries or pick-ups on time. However, speeding can impact their ability to stop in a timely fashion, control their vehicles or steering wheels, and avoid skidding.
If you or a loved one have suffered injuries in a truck accident, schedule a case consultation with the attorneys at MR Civil Justice today. Call (214) 739-0100 or reach out online.