Crashes with large commercial vehicles cause thousands of injuries and fatalities every year. These collisions have a variety of different causes.
Between navigation devices, cell phones and the need to eat or drink, the cab of a semi-truck can be full of distractions that take drivers’ thoughts, hands or eyes away from the task of driving. Distracted truckers can easily drift across center lines, maintain an inappropriate following distance or drive at unsafe speeds.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has found that the likelihood of a crash doubles if drivers are on the road for more than 8 hours. Driving while tired can result in catastrophic accidents, and driver fatigue is a common issue faced by truckers. Carriers often place pressure on drivers despite federal guidelines that limit the amount of time that a driver can be on the road per day.
Failure to obey traffic laws
When large commercial vehicles do not obey speed limits, stop signs or right of way, it puts other drivers in significant danger. Following too closely can be especially dangerous. Because of their mass, large commercial vehicles need about 200 feet to stop safely at highway speeds. Following too closely can make these vehicles unable to brake safely if the car in front of them has to slow or stop suddenly.
Large commercial vehicles rely on a variety of systems to operate safely. Mechanical failures like engine failure, brake failure or faulty trailer hitches can make these semi-trucks difficult or impossible for drivers to control. The IIHS estimates that brake issues factor into 36% of commercial vehicle accidents and that one-fifth of accidents involve lighting issues.
No matter what the cause, trucking accidents can be devastating for the other vehicles involved. Victims that pursue legal action could be eligible for compensation.