A truck accident can stem from all the same causes as a regular car accident. Disobeying road rules, driving under the influence and driver distraction can all lead a truck driver to cause an accident. However, truck drivers have additional risk factors and concerns that typical drivers don’t share because of the nature of their jobs. A truck driver, for example, may drive long hours on the road at a time while alone, and this can increase the chance of an accident related to fatigued driving.
In the US, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is the body responsible for governing commercial trucks. According to the agency, there are two factors in large truck accidents that tend to outweigh the rest: driver error and failure of equipment (https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/saf
Driver Error Is More Common Than You’d Think
Errors by a truck driver are actually the leading cause of truck accidents. Truck drivers are far more likely to be the responsible party in an accident than any other factors, including weather and road conditions. FMCSA found that truck drivers were the main cause in close to 90 percent of truck accidents, but this is not that surprising when you think about the industry.
A truck driver is often under a lot of pressure to meet deadlines, and this can mean staying on the road for long hours to make deliveries on time and stay on schedule. Sleep-deprived drivers and drivers under the influence are not unusual, and fatigue, use of legal and illegal drugs, speeding and distraction are all factors that can also play a part in truck driver errors. A truck driver may lose control of the truck, drift out of the travel lane, speed, doze off or drive while their attention is elsewhere, and the results can be devastating.
Equipment Failure Happens
The next leading cause of truck accidents is an equipment issue, with major mechanical problems often stemming from a lack of proper truck maintenance. When a truck’s front brakes aren’t maintained as they should be, for example, it can cause the truck to jackknife. A truck that isn’t inspected properly could have tire troubles that lead to a dangerous blowout and a loss of truck control on the road.
Of course, equipment failure on a truck can also come from an issue with a part itself and not the maintenance of the vehicle. If a truck contains a part that was defective when it was installed, the maker or the distributor of that part can be liable if the part’s malfunction causes an accident. For example, brake failure stemming from a defective part in those brakes could signal a problem on the manufacturer’s end. As your auto accident lawyer will explain to you, more than one party could be held liable for your trucking accident, depending on the circumstances and the causes of it.
There are hundreds of regulations in place, set by FMCSA, to improve truck safety nationwide. These include standards for truck driving hiring and training, maintenance of a fleet, driving techniques, sleep schedules, loading of cargo and more. If any of these rules are broken, the driver and their company or employer can be held liable for a resulting accident.
What to Do After a Truck Accident
If you or someone you care about has been in a truck accident, you probably have a lot of questions. How will your family be provided for if you can’t work? Who will pay the medical bills? Are you ever going to recover and feel like yourself again? You may also be understandably angry at the driver who caused this to happen to you. Keep in mind that those feelings are normal, and that help is available.
Speak to an experienced auto accident lawyer about what happened in your truck accident as soon as you can. You may be able to receive compensation for your suffering, injuries, and losses stemming from your injury, but you need to focus on your recovery. Let your attorney do the work for you so that you can put more of your energy into healing and moving past your accident.