Driver Error: the Major Cause of Truck Accidents according to the FMCSA

Posted by on Mar 16, 2016 in Automobile Acidents | 0 comments

Compared to cars, trailer trucks move and maneuver much slower; these huge vehicles also require more room, especially when making turns or when maneuvering along curves. Operating a trailer truck, also known as big rig, semi-trailer or 18-wheeler, requires special skills; thus, before a person can be issued a commercial driver’s license, his or her authorization to operate a truck (or a bus), he or she will first have to undergo a special training and a series of tests aimed at ensuring the safe operation of commercial vehicles.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than two million semi-trailers are current under operation in the US. An alarming concern about this, though, is that a fourth of these vehicles (500,000 trucks) are said to get involved in accidents, many of which are fatal, every year.

Besides more maneuvering space, trucks also have blind spots, which are areas where smaller vehicles are not visible to truck drivers. The blind spots, where most accidents occur, include a truck’s front, back area and sides, especially the passenger side.

While there are many varying factors that cause trucks to get involved in accidents, a study conducted by the Federal Motor carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) says that majority of these accidents are due to truck driver errors.

According to the FMCSA, the top three factors that result to driver error are driver fatigue, intoxication from prescription and/or over-the-counter-drugs which results to impaired driving, and speeding and driving too fast for road conditions. (Other factors resulting to driver error are speeding, driving distractions, lack of focus on the road, failure to check blind spots, improper attachment of trailer, depowering of the front brakes, and failure to make sure that the brakes are in good working condition.

The dangers that trailer trucks pose on the road make it imperative for drivers to observe all proper safety measures – this especially includes double checking their blind spots for possible smaller vehicles and making sure that they start to step on the brakes, when they need to stop, from enough distance.

According to the Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg law firm, there are many instances wherein truck drivers fail to take their responsibility seriously, thus, causing catastrophic, yet preventable, accidents as a result. While it is true that many drivers of smaller vehicles have survived truck accidents, these survivors have been left either with a severe injury or a trauma that may haunt them for the rest of their lives; medical treatment to treat injuries can be costly; the same with emotional or psychological therapy. The results of an accident can no longer be undone.

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