Potential Causes for a Semi Truck Wreck
Accidents involving semi-trucks are more likely to cause catastrophic injuries than standard car wrecks. The reason is simple: semis are much larger than passenger vehicles, so even cars equipped with high-tech safety and crash protection gear can’t always withstand a high-speed collision. The circumstances surrounding each Semi truck wreck are different, but there are some common causes of 18-wheeler accidents that stand out for their frequency.
Many of today’s truck drivers receive pay based on their mileage, which can convince them to drive for longer periods than they should. There are federal regulations regarding how many hours truckers can drive each day, but not everyone follows them. Combined with the less-than-ideal sleeping conditions found in most truck stops, this helps to explain why driver fatigue is one of the leading causes of fatal semi-truck accidents.
Distracted driving is always dangerous, but never more so than in cases that involve semis. The most common example of distracted driving is using a cell phone while behind the wheel, but truckers involved in accidents have also reported crashing as a result of using GPS systems, eating or drinking, talking to passengers, and engaging in a wide variety of other activities. The bottom line here is that truck drivers should be focused on only one thing while they’re behind the wheel: the road ahead.
Inadequate Vehicle Maintenance
Semi-trucks in active operation must also conform to federal guidelines regarding proper maintenance. Again, though, not all companies and drivers take these regulations seriously. There are many parts and components that can cause serious accidents if they’re not maintained and replaced as needed. Most involve trucks’ braking systems, engines, or trailer hitches, but even excessive tire wear can spell trouble on the road.
When drivers are placed under severe time constraints, it can lead those responsible for loading the truck to cut corners. Rushed or inexperienced loaders don’t always distribute weight properly, which can raise the risk of serious problems like jack-knifing and make it more difficult for drivers to manoeuvre their large, heavy vehicles.
Alcohol and Drugs
Most transport companies drug test their drivers, but owner-operators and truckers who work for more lenient firms may not be subjected to routine drug testing. An astounding 30% of American truckers admit to using amphetamines, and 20% to using marijuana while on the job. These dangerous drugs can make it more likely that drivers will take unnecessary risks, drive too fast, make unsafe lane changes, or even fall asleep at the wheel.
Driving a semi-truck is nothing like driving a passenger vehicle. That’s why truckers need to hold current CDL licenses if they want to get behind the wheel. Unfortunately, not all semi-truck drivers receive sufficient training before they take their first jobs, which can increase their risk of getting into accidents.
What to Do After a Semi-Truck Accident
People in passenger vehicles are much more likely to experience significant injuries during semi-truck accidents. All accident victims should seek necessary medical care and file accident reports with the local police, then hire a lawyer as soon as they can to increase their chances of receiving adequate compensation for their injuries and other damages.