Accidents involving commercial trucks can cause a lot of damage. A truck’s size and weight, along with potentially hazardous cargo, increase the likelihood of serious injury and even death.
Top causes of crashes include driver error and vehicle malfunction. Other factors can influence the cause and result of the crash, including other drivers, the weather and road conditions. Identifying the responsible parties can prove complicated.
Truck drivers falling asleep at the wheel continue to present a risk, despite federal regulations mandating rest breaks. Even drivers who adhere to the rules may experience fatigue when they drive at night due to the disruption of the sleep cycle. Moreover, rest breaks do not help drivers who suffer from sleep disorders such as insomnia or from sleep apnea, which makes getting real rest difficult. Sometimes truck drivers may also skirt regulations due to pressures from their bosses to make pickup or delivery deadlines no matter what.
Distraction and other types of impairment
Distraction presents another challenge for long-haul drivers, who spend many monotonous hours on the road. Whether they yield to the temptation to check their phones or simply zone out as they drive, truckers who let their focus drift run the risk of causing a crash. Illegal drugs, alcohol and even prescription medication can also affect a driver’s ability to navigate the road safely.
Improperly secured or loaded cargo may create hazards as well. Excessive or badly distributed loads can make it more difficult for a driver to control the truck, especially in bad weather or road conditions. Additionally, cargo falling from a truck can hit other vehicles or create an obstacle in the road.
Malfunctions or defects
When trucks malfunction, they may do so due to a defective part or to failure to properly maintain the truck. Some companies may skimp on regular inspections and maintenance, leading to excessive wear and tear and possible breakdown. Sometimes, vital parts fail because of a manufacturing defect; in such a case, the manufacturer may bear responsibility in a resulting lawsuit.