Despite numerous safety upgrades for semi-trucks and cars in the last decade, more and more drivers have been killed in truck accidents over the last few years. In fact, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the number of drivers who died in large truck crashes was 30 percent higher in 2017 than in 2009.
Also, the IIHS reported that truck occupants also are increasing losing their lives in large truck crashes, with 34 percent more deaths since 2009. So, what is causing this increase in large truck accidents?
Fatigue and distraction
With more and more cars and trucks coming equipped with digital features, including GPS capabilities and communications systems, truck and auto drivers are more distracted. One mistake behind the wheel of an 80,000-pound truck can easily lead to a fatal crash.
Fatigue also often plays a role. Trucking companies may give drivers unrealistic schedules or expectations on the amount of time needed to move goods from one location to another. This leaves many drivers in a hurry, tired or speeding to meet management’s expectations. Any of these factors can result in catastrophic results.
Poor truck maintenance or equipment failure
Sometimes, a semi-truck hasn’t been well maintained, considering the thousands of miles it travels. Any sort of equipment failure—whether a truck’s brakes fail or even a windshield cracks—can lead to a serious accident.
In some cases, trucking companies are liable for these accidents, but sometimes the truck manufacturer or a part supplier is to blame for faulty equipment.
Improper cargo loading
When you are driving near a large semi-truck with other vehicles loaded on it, or large machinery or parts bundled to the truck bed, you may consider what would happen if that cargo came loose and crashed into your vehicle. Unfortunately, that is a reality.
Most often in these cases, a driver has not properly secured the truck’s load or hasn’t correctly followed loading procedures or cargo limits.
For these reasons, motorists should give large trucks plenty of space when changing lanes and merging into traffic and refrain from tailgating any large trucks. Practicing defensive driving is your best way to stay safe as a motorist.
If you have suffered severe injuries in a trucking accident, contact a personal injury attorney. You want someone who can help you get a fair settlement for your medical costs and lost wages.