Driving a semi-truck or tractor-trailer requires special training and expertise. When truck drivers fail to operate their vehicles safely, the results can be catastrophic for the drivers and passengers in the vehicles around them.
Driving and maneuvering these large vehicles can be difficult and requires significant skill and attention that truck drivers don’t always dedicate or have to spare. Thus, driver error can often occur with semi-truck drivers, leading to crashes that often feature serious or fatal injuries to the victims involved.
What Causes Semi-Truck Crashes?
In the majority of truck crash cases, a truck driver’s negligence is what ultimately leads to a crash.
There are a lot of risk factors faced by truck drivers that may put them more at risk of causing a crash, such as:
- Health issues
- Lack of sleep and fatigue
- Lack of experience
- Distracted driving
- Inclement weather conditions
- Aggressive driving
- Impaired driving
- Reckless driving
Driver health issues are common and can often stem from poor sleep and nutrition, addiction to narcotics, and other bad habits. Truck drivers are also prone to back and spinal problems from the long hours they spend sitting and driving on the road. These health concerns can lead to impairments in their capacity to safely operate their truck.
Distracted driving is another common cause of crashes involving negligent semi-truck drivers. A driver may be distracted by adjusting their GPS, eating, or using their phone while driving, and this may impede their ability to safely navigate the road.
Truck drivers can fall victim to a variety of distractions. For inexperienced truckers, these distractions involve cell phones and other electronics used in the commercial vehicle. However, many other employees struggle with distractions that take their hands off the wheel and their attention from the road, such as adjusting the controls in the truck.
These choices can lead to crashes as well, caused by the negligent driving of a distracted truck driver.
Sleep deprivation is also a common problem found in truck drivers who drive long hours to meet tight deadlines. They often forgo sleep to meet their deadlines and spend more time behind the wheel than safety would dictate, despite strict rest requirements and shift restrictions set out by law. These choices can lead to impairment in their driving abilities and can lead them to drive dangerously and crash.
Many truck drivers suffer from irregular sleeping habits due to the hours they must keep and the places they have at their disposal to take breaks to sleep. Truck drivers often will pull over into a rest stop off the highway to try to sleep, which can be difficult with all the lights and commotion associated with trying to sleep by a highway.
One particularly serious sleeping problem is sleep apnea. If the semi-truck driver has this condition, they may have trouble sleeping and have trouble remaining awake while driving. This illness can also affect blood pressure and, when combined with diabetes, can cause issues with breathing.
Lack of Experience
Inexperience is another common cause of negligent truck driving leading to crashes. Many truck drivers today are inexperienced, given the great need for semi-truck drivers due to the popularity of online shopping. The lack of employees drives companies to cut corners in training, proper supervision, and proper hiring practices, leading to violations of trucking regulations, such as hours of service rules, training requirements, and hiring drivers without proper qualifications to be safely operating a large vehicle that can be difficult to maneuver.
Inexperienced drivers are also more likely to make bad decisions behind the wheel and often struggle to handle the vehicle in a crisis, leading to dangerous crashes. Decisions about care, maintenance, and upkeep with the truck are extremely important, and an inexperienced truck driver is more likely to make bad choices that could make the vehicle more likely not to perform as it should. A poorly maintained truck is more likely to suffer some issue on the road that could lead to the driver losing control and causing a crash.
Other problems associated with negligent truck driving can include failure to maintain watch over their blind spots while driving. Semi-truck drivers have more blind spots than regular passenger vehicles and can often overlook these while driving and put motorcyclists and passenger vehicles at risk of being in a crash with the inattentive truck driver.
Aggressive truck driving is one of the most common causes of both 18-wheeler and semi-truck vehicle crashes. Commercial drivers work long hours under stressful conditions, which often makes them more prone to tailgating, speeding, making sudden maneuvers, or trying to get another driver’s attention.
Finally, driving too fast or carelessly in inclement weather such as snow or icy conditions can lead a truck driver to lose control of their vehicle. Slippery road conditions can cause these heavy vehicles to spin out of control and cause crashes with other drivers.
All of these things put truck drivers at greater risk of causing a semi-truck crash. If you see a trucker driving erratically or dangerously, stay as far back as possible and notify the authorities. You do not want to put yourself at risk of becoming a victim of their negligent driving.
A Semi-Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help
The most important step to take for those involved in a crash with a negligent semi-truck driver is to obtain good legal representation for their case. Your case stemming from injuries suffered in a crash with a negligent truck driver will give you legal rights to compensation to cover the costs of your injuries and any lingering effects they may have on your life.
To get everything you deserve, you need to find the right lawyer who can successfully negotiate with insurance companies for a proper settlement or, if necessary, take your case to trial to get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
When semi-truck drivers cause an injurious crash, you may hold their employer liable for their actions, so that is another party you may pursue a lawsuit against to recover damages for your injuries.
Proper legal representation is key to recovering compensation if you sustained an injury from a negligent semi-truck driver in a crash, so call a truck accident lawyer near you today.