Commercial truck drivers are essential to our economy and our daily lives. They transport goods and supplies nationwide, often covering thousands of miles in a single trip. However, accidents involving these large vehicles can result in severe injuries and even fatalities. Often, truck driver negligence is the cause of these crashes.
1. Driver Fatigue
One of the leading causes of truck driver negligence is driver fatigue. Due to long hours on the road and tight delivery schedules, it's not uncommon for commercial drivers to become exhausted and even nod off behind the wheel. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), fatigued driving is similar to driving under the influence of alcohol due to the following:
- Drivers’ reaction times, awareness of hazards, and ability to sustain attention all worsen the drowsier the driver.
- Driving after going more than 20 hours without sleep is the equivalent of driving with a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08% – the U.S. legal limit.
- Drivers are three times more likely to be in a car crash if fatigued.
When drivers operate large trucks while fatigued, they can easily cause a serious accident.
If you're driving near or passing a truck and notice that the driver is struggling to maintain their lane or a steady speed, keep a safe distance. If you can safely pull over, do so, and report the issue to the authorities.
2. Improper Cargo Loading
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) states that “It is the responsibility of the motor carrier and the driver to ensure that any cargo aboard a vehicle is properly loaded and secured.” Loads that are improperly secured or too heavy can lead to a truck tipping over or losing control. Additionally, careless loading and unloading practices can lead to objects falling onto the road, creating hazards for other drivers.
3. Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is an issue among all drivers but is particularly dangerous for truck drivers due to the size and weight of their vehicles. Mobile phones, GPS devices, and even eating or drinking while driving can be distracting and increase the chances of an accident. If you witness a truck driver using a mobile phone or engaging in other distracting behaviors while driving, give the truck space and remain vigilant.
4. Reckless Driving
Reckless driving behaviors, such as speeding, tailgating, and aggressive lane changes, can endanger everyone on the road. Unfortunately, some truck drivers may feel pressure to meet tight delivery schedules and could resort to reckless driving to stay on track. If you encounter a truck driver engaging in reckless driving, try to distance yourself from the vehicle.
5. Poor Vehicle Maintenance
Truck drivers are advised to check the wear and condition of their vehicles before every trip and periodically while on the roads. If the driver is negligent in maintaining their vehicle or receives improper truck maintenance, it can lead to mechanical failures, such as brake failure, tire blowouts, or steering malfunctions. If these issues are left unaddressed, they can endanger the driver and everyone on the road.
Get Help from a Truck Accident Attorney
An accident resulting from truck driver negligence, such as driver fatigue or improper maintenance of the vehicle involved, can be devastating for all parties involved. Staying alert for trucks and other distracted drivers on the road can help keep our roadways safe.
At The Hamilton Firm LLC, our attorneys will investigate the accident to help you begin your case. We have a proven track record for being tough on trucks, with over $100 million recovered on behalf of our clients. Learn more about The Hamilton Firm LLC difference and call us today at (423) 454-3288 to schedule your free consultation. It's risk-free — you won't pay legal fees unless you win your case or obtain a favorable settlement.