Aug 7, 2018

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Are Most Truck Accidents Caused by Driver Error?

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When it comes to truck accidents, even the smallest collision can be deadly. If you’ve ever stood next to a semi-truck, you know just how big they are. Standing 13 feet high with an average weight of 80,000 lbs., the common sedan doesn’t stand a chance in a truck-auto accident. As a result, most collisions with semi-trucks result in fatalities.

What Causes Truck Accidents?

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)’s Large Truck Crash Causation Study, large truck accidents occur due to one of the following variables:

  1. Critical Event: an action or event makes a collision unavoidable
  2. Critical Reason: driver error, vehicle failure, or an environment condition caused the accident
  3. Associated Factors: the persons, vehicles, and environmental conditions present at the time of the crash (brake problems, traffic flow, road problems, speed, etc.)

Critical Reason Accidents

The FMCSA found that 87% of large truck accident critical reason accidents are caused by driver error. The types of errors are broken down into four categories:

  • Non-Performance: this error occurs when the driver becomes physically impaired due to seizure, heart attack, falling asleep, etc.
  • Recognition: similar to distracted driving, the driver was either inattentive, distracted, or failed to adequately observe a situation
  • Decision: the driver makes a poor decision, such as driving too fast, misjudging distance, etc.
  • Performance: the driver panics, overcompensates, or exercises poor directional control.

Many of the above errors can be attributed to driver experience and/or fatigue.

Commercial Truck Driver Education

Most states required drivers to obtain a commercial driver’s license and undergo specific training, but it can still take some time to acquire the knowledge, experience, skills, and even physical ability to drive a commercial truck.

Driver Fatigue

Driver fatigue is the result of physical or mental exertion and can severely impair a person’s ability to safely operate a vehicle. In an effort to combat driver fatigue, there are regulations on both the state and federal levels. Large truck drivers are permitted to drive a maximum of 11 consecutive hours, provided they take the next 10 consecutive hours off. Truck drivers are required to log their time driving, their time on duty but not driving (loading or unloading the truck), and their time off duty. The trucking companies are also responsible for making sure their drivers are following these rules, but it can be difficult to know when a driver has omitted certain information from their logs, therefore making it difficult to know if a driver has violated the regulations.

HIRE AN ATTORNEY

If you’ve been injured in a trucking accident, you might be entitled to carry out legal action against the driver or truck company. Find a lawyer, like a truck accident lawyer Phoenix, AZ trusts, with extensive experience securing the maximum fair compensation in auto accident cases.  Contact the law a skilled lawyer today.

 


 

Thank to our friends and contributors from Kamper Estrada LLP for their insight into truck accident cases.