Driving a large commercial vehicle takes the utmost concentration. Drivers must operate these vehicles without distraction, aggression, or arrogance. To become a commercial truck driver, you must pass further testing and certification. This prevents just anyone from becoming a commercial truck driver. This screening helps to weed out any bad drivers who may more easily cause truck accidents by partaking in bad habits while behind the wheel.
Statistics on Truck Accidents
In 2019 there were 4,119 fatalities because of truck accidents. 67% of those fatalities were passengers or drivers of regular non-commercial vehicles. Another 15% were pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists. Finally, 16% were truck drivers and occupants.
Dangerous Truck Driving Habits
Unsafely Changing Lanes
Changing lanes is dangerous no matter what in a large commercial vehicle. Semi-trucks have large blind spots that obscure passenger cars from their view. A truck driver that changes lanes too quickly or without checking its blindspots vigilantly could cause an accident.
Lane hopping is a bad driving habit that involves quickly weaving in and out of lanes to pass through traffic buildup easier. Truck drivers who partake in lane hopping or lane weaving may be more at risk for accidents.
Not Checking Blind Spots
Checking blinds spots multiple times before merging or switching lanes altogether is a good way to ensure that no one gets hurt. Especially in truck accidents, it’s important to make sure you’re not driving in someone’s blind spot.
Using Cell Phone While Driving
In any circumstances, using a phone while you’re driving is not a good idea. While it’s hazardous to do while driving a passenger vehicle, imagine how dangerous it could be while operating a large commercial vehicle that weighs 20 to 30 times more than the average passenger vehicle.
Using a cell phone for anything is enough of a distraction to cause an accident. This includes:
- talking on the phone
- checking email
- checking social media
- looking for directions
Distracted driving of any kind, such as texting, talking on the phone, and eating, are terrible habits that many have a hard time kicking. One’s hands should be kept on the steering wheel at all times, while one’s hands should always be on the road. Taking your eyes, ears, or focus off of the road is not only considered bad driving, but it could kill someone.
Driving Through Bad Weather
If you’re living in an area with bad weather such as snow or rain, you should be well equipped to handle the road changes. Whether that be snow tires or just learning how to slow down correctly in the slush, preparing yourself for these conditions can save you from a nasty car accident.
Truck drivers should be equipped with the training to handle these conditions. If they aren’t, their employer may be liable for not providing proper training.
When drivers are overscheduled and overworked, drowsy driving can be common. Because truck drivers drive for such long periods of time, it can be hard to get the correct amount of sleep between shifts. Overscheduling a driver to the point of fatigue or exhaustion can make an accident the trucking company’s fault.
Poorly Secured Cargo
Cargo must be properly secured to ensure that a driver’s route is as smooth and safe as possible. If a truck is overloaded or loaded incorrectly, an accident can occur at the loading team’s fault.
Multiple Parties may be Liable for a Truck Accident
When a car accident occurs, liability is pretty cut and dry. In most cases, the other driver is the only party responsible for the accident. This is not the case with commercial truck accidents. With truck accidents, multiple parties can be liable.
Of course, the truck driver can be liable for the accident if they were practicing bad driving habits at the time of the accident, such as:
- improper lane merging
- texting while driving
- driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
The trucking company could be liable if the accident occurred because of their negligence. Trucking company negligence could include:
- not properly training employees
- overscheduling employees past the legal limits
- not properly maintaining the trucks
If the truck has a mechanical issue, such as a defective part, the manufacturer of the truck or the part could be liable for the accident. If the truck manufacturer issued a recall of the part before the accident occurred and the trucking company chose to ignore it, the trucking company could still be liable.
If the truck is improperly loaded or the cargo isn’t strapped down correctly, the loading team may be liable for any accident that occurs. If there’s a party that’s supposed to check the cargo loader’s work before it leaves for distribution, that party could also be liable.
Receiving Compensation for Your Truck Accident Injuries
If you or someone you love has been involved in a truck accident because of someone else’s negligence, contact Sand Law online for a free consultation. You can also call us at 651-291-7263. We’re ready and willing to help you get the compensation that you deserve.