Why Do Large Commercial Trucks Get Into Accidents?
Every day, we share the road with trucks. Not just the family or small work truck, but large, 18-wheeler tractor trailer trucks. Your car or SUV is no match for a large tractor trailer truck. Combined with the truck’s sheer size and weight the truck itself may be carrying heavy or even flammable cargo, that makes trucking accidents horrific and potentially catastrophic.
But why do trucking accidents happen? There are a lot of reasons, and many combine driver error, with corporate greed.
On the Road for Too Long
One major reason is that truck drivers simply are pushed to drive for too long, to the point that they are on the road when they are too tired to be driving. Drivers and the companies that they work for make money by getting cargo where it needs to be as fast as possible. That incentivizes drivers to drive when tired, when they are sick, or when they may be on medicine that can impair their abilities.
There are laws that restrict the maximum driving hours a trucker can be on the road at any one time. But some don’t follow these laws, or skirt the rules. Logs that are meant to be kept to track hours on the road, can be forged or altered.
Once again, profit plays a role in accidents. The more that’s loaded in a truck, and the quicker it gets loaded, the more money a company makes. That can incentivize loading trucks up to the point that they are too heavy, or where the loads inside the carriages are imbalanced. That can make a truck very difficult for a driver to control, and can lead to a truck tipping over (sometimes called jackknifing).
Many drivers have no idea that their truck may have been overloaded. When they drive the way they normally do, which may be safe with a normally loaded truck carriage, they end up in accidents, unaware that the load in the truck’s carriage is too heavy or just imbalanced.
Mechanical Failure or Defects
Because of the large sizes of trucks, their parts—especially their brakes—must be carefully maintained, in a different way than your car’s brakes are maintained. However, many trucking companies, in an effort to save money, don’t bother to give trucks the care and maintenance that they need, leading to mechanical failures on the road.
Trucks that make turns can be dangerous as well. Trucks can’t make sharp turns—especially right turns, which are sharper. To do so, the truck must swerve left a bit, to make the right turn cleanly. That can lead to the truck jutting into oncoming traffic.
Driving a truck is a skill. But many companies try to save money by hiring inexperienced drivers—or worse, drivers with a poor driving record. Companies may not do proper background trucks, leading to people being behind the wheel that should not be there.
Call the West Palm Beach personal injury attorneys at Pike & Lustig today if you are involved in an accident involving a large commercial truck or 18-wheeler.