What are Tractor Trailer Accidents?
A tractor trailer is often known as the combination of a truck and its trailer. It is often known as an 18 wheeler truck. Tractor trailer accidents are also known as truck accidents and they involve large commercial trucks. Usually the weight of large commercial trucks is 20 times greater than the weight of a simple vehicle.
Tractor trailer accidents are very dangerous because the weight of large commercial trucks or tractor trailers is greater than the weight of a car, and thus they cause severe damage when they collide with other vehicles. Normally, due to their increased weight and size they cause much damage to the passengers on the road.
What are Common Causes of Tractor Trailer Accidents?
Here, you will learn about the top causes of tractor trailer accidents.
- Carelessness is the major cause for tractor trailer accidents. In some accident cases only one party is the major cause of the accident however in other cases multiple drivers must be accountable for the accident.
- Tractor trailers or larger in size and it becomes very difficult to handle them on the highway. So, small errors can cause disaster.
- Driver negligence is also the cause that might lead to accidents and in this case a driver doesn’t follow a stop sign or he/she is busy on the mobile phone while driving on the road.
- Defect in the vehicle for some mechanical issues in the truck may also contribute to the accident. There might be some issue with the road signs or symbols or with the light on the road. Vehicle lights must also be in working conditions to avoid accidents.
- Poor condition of the engine or the flying up hood of the vehicle can sometimes cause accidents.
- Poor weather conditions make it very difficult to watch on the road.
- Improper safety parts and maintenance pitfalls causes the vehicles to fail on the road.
- Some drivers work under the influence of their trucking companies or they want to earn some extra money in return for long haul driving. Trucking companies pressure their drivers to have shipments arrive on time.
- 87% of tractor trailer accidents were caused by driver fatigue.
- Speeding of the truck or drifting along the lane may be the possible causes of tractor trailer accidents.
- Overloading or Improperly loaded trucks makes it difficult for the truck to stop on time.
- Lure for more money persuades the truck trailer drivers to work harder in long shifts.
- “Super-Single” Tire Failure also result in truck trailer accidents.
- Driving while impaired is also the main reason behind trucking accidents.
Top Causes For Tractor Trailer Accident:
(1) Alcohol and Drug Violations
Truck drivers not only drink alcohol while driving but they also take harmful and illegal drugs. Many truck drivers have the prescription of taking medicines that are helpful for the operation of heavy vehicles that include 18 wheelers. Some truck drivers take medications without the advice of doctors that leads to devastating accidents. Trucking companies must test their drivers randomly for drugs and medications.
Truck drivers must also be checked for the possession of alcohol and drugs. A quick response by the driver is needed while driving a heavy vehicle on the road and in cases where the drivers fail to respond reflexively, causing serious damages to the other motorists on the road.
Some of the risks associated with overloaded or improperly loaded trucks are:
- Failure of brakes
- Tire blowouts
- Increased speed going down hills
- Difficulty steering if the load shifts
- Difficulty in steering the vehicle in emergency
- Overturning due to shifting of load
- Increased stopping times
(3) Over Speeding
To reach the destination on time, most truckers hurry because they want to earn extra money. So, they are under pressure and in case of being late their company can give them penalty. Tucks have increased stopping time due to large weight and size so speeding trucks makes it dangerous. Most trucks have a “black box” which records important information including the speed at the time of the crash.
(4) Rash Driving
If we talk about road rage, drivers become negligent on the road. This results in severe damages. If you fall a victim to any of such reckless behavior of drivers, then you can get driver accountable and get maximum compensation by hiring truck trailer accident lawyer, prosecutor or any law firm.
Drivers of 18-wheelers misjudge the speed of traffic on the road. Mostly, small vehicles on the road drive recklessly around the big rigs. This causes collision between an 18-wheeler and other vehicles. Small vehicles drivers must not cut off large trucks and must keep the gap between these large rigs.
According to the report of Foundation for Traffic Safety, about 62 percent of roadsters suffer road rage. The major cause of this is overtaking other drivers hence 7% of all trucking accidents are the result of rash driving. Mostly drivers misjudge the road conditions. They are also not perfect in judging the stopping distance and length and weight of the tractor trailer.
(5) Distracted Driving
There might be some driving errors that can cause accidents on the road such as some drivers take too wide turns. Driving fast and failing to check the road conditions can also contribute to tractor trailer accidents. Distracted driving is dangerous driving. Some drivers use their Cell phones while driving while others eat while driving. Truck drivers are 20 times more likely to be involved in an accident while texting.
Sometimes, truck drivers want to access an object in the truck that causes the distraction from the road. Tractor trailer drivers are six times more likely to be involved in a crash while dialing a hand-held cell phone.
About 6000 people were killed in distracted driving and another 448,000 were injured. Careless driving while carrying the weight of 80,000 lb on a congested highway can be disastrous. Contact a team of semi-truck lawyers if you or your loved one is injured by an 18-wheeler tractor trailer.
(6) Trucking Company Errors
In some cases, trucking companies are also liable for truck trailer accidents. they do not check the background of the driver. According to law the application of every driver must be checked. Trucking companies must also check the police accident reports of the drivers and verify the experience of each driver while they apply for the job. These companies must not depend upon the data provided by the truck trailer driver. Trucking companies must also record the repairs and inspections of the vehicles. They must not put pressure on the drivers to hurry in order to get their goods delivered to the destination.
(7) Violation of Hours of Service Requirements
There are certain hours of service for the drivers of commercial vehicles. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has prescribed strict rules and regulations about the number of driving hours and the rest period for truckers. These hours must be written in the log books of the truckers. But to the dismay many truckers change their log books illegally and they make false records in the book. These log books must be cross checked with the help of trip tickets, bills of ladings, and as receipts. If you have been hit by a tractor trailer or other big truck, contact a truck trailer accident lawyer to seek possible compensation.
(8) Faulty Equipment
Tractor-trailer trucks are expensive to maintain. Many companies do not pay attention to the maintenance of faulty equipment. Truckers and trucking companies are responsible for the maintenance and service of the trucks. They must schedule maintenance and repairs and record all the repair history and maintenance schedules in their log books.
In case if you are hit by a tractor trailer, then you can hire a semi truck lawyer In order to assess and investigate into the tractor trailer accident matter. That tractor trailer accident lawyer will look into the matter and he or she will check the service history and underline problems and defects in the design and manufacturing process. If your trucking accident was due to faulty equipment, then you can get compensation in return. You can schedule an appointment with the tractor trailer accident lawyer.
(9) Improper Training/ Inadequate Training & Supervision
Truck driving is a responsible job and truck drivers must have a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Even after obtaining a CDL, drivers must undergo a training session that teaches how to respond to mechanical failures, poor conditions of the road and emergency situations. If a driver drives rings without proper training, then the trucking company is responsible in case of any accident. Trucking companies must also be aware of how their drivers are doing their duty, whether they are following the law or not. In cases when the drivers are falsifying records, over speeding, taking drugs and alcohol, the company must take this thing into account and must bring the truck drivers to book.
Tractor trailer accidents can be fatal to any. There are commercial driving schools in the USA that boast that you can learn driving within 15 days. Some others boast that they can teach you truck driving within 20 days. Driving a tractor-trailer rig on the interstate highways after learning driving within 15 days can result in serious devastation and destruction. You must be at least twenty-one (21) years old to get a Commercial Drivers License (CDL). There are no written parameters and testing systems for the truck drivers so putting the person on the driving seat to drive a tractor trailer for long hours can put the lives of motorists on the road in severe danger.
(10) Truck Driver Fatigue
If a tractor trailer driver has unrealistic sleep schedules, then he/she might cause damage to the other people on the road. Mostly, trucking companies have some rules and regulations to limit driver fatigue but they don’t take an individual driver’s sleep habits into account.
Most trucking companies put their drivers under huge pressure and ask drivers for long haul driving to deliver their load. Trucking companies don’t take care about the stress of the driver. In some cases truck drivers own their vehicle and there is only one way to earn the living and that is by driving the truck for long hours.
When truck trailer companies ask the drivers to work harder beyond their limits then major accidents occur. Fatigue is the basic thing related to the truck driver that remains the only thing when the driver is on the road. Truck drivers spend the whole day and night on the roads so it is difficult to prevent driver fatigue related accidents. Sometimes drivers sleep in their trucks while driving long hours. It is difficult to concentrate or stare at the road all the time.
These were some common causes for tractor trailer accident. For more information, you can read this article about tractor trailer accidents.
How to prevent driver fatigue in tractor trailer accidents?
There are many ways with the help of them trucking companies can prevent driver fatigue and reduce the accidents that are related to this factor.
Sleep apnea and drowsiness causes the truckers to commit serious errors thus resulting in the tractor-trailer accidents. About 50% of long haul drivers fell asleep while driving. Report of The National Traffic Highway Safety Administration suggests that over 50,000 accidents are related to sleep. According to a report by the National Transportation Safety Board, forty percent of accidents are caused due to driver fatigue.
Drivers tend to take coffee to keep them going on the road but this thing affects their health and sleep cycle badly. They also take some drugs for prescription medicines to attempt to get alert on the road but this thing works for a short time and the ultimate result is tiredness and fatigue and finally that result in the accident.
Vehicles must be kept cool with the help of air conditioners or some ventilation. Drivers must also take breaks and engage themselves in taking rest, a nap, and awesome talk with the conductor of the vehicle. They can also reduce their fatigue by walking outside the truck for some time.
There are some devices or gadgets that monitor the rate of closure of the driver’s eyes. When these devices report some anomaly in the pattern then they make an alarm call but these devices are costly and it is very difficult for all drivers and trucking companies to bear the cost of these devices. So to cope up with driver fatigue, these devices are not the ultimate solution.