It is common knowledge that semi-truck accidents are more dangerous and cause significant damage compared to smaller automobiles. According to the US Department of Transportation, semi-trucks are about 70 ft long and can carry loads that weigh 20,000lbs to 80,000lbs. The standard sedan vehicle weighs about 2,500lbs to 2,900lbs, therefore semi-trucks are at least 8x bigger than sedan cars. The deadly combination of commercial vehicle’s length and weight can cause serious damage to the smaller cars on the road. We list the most common causes of semi-truck accidents so you can be more informed when operating a commercial vehicle.
Causes of Semi-Truck Accidents
Distracted Driving is any activity that takes your attention away from driving safely such as talking to other passengers in the car or texting while driving. Although this is a common cause of standard vehicle accidents, distracted driving poses a bigger threat to semi-truck drivers. Commercial vehicles have a slower reaction time compared to standard cars, therefore distracted truck drivers are more likely to be in an accident.
It is a well known fact that speeding is illegal and can cause serious or fatal car accidents. Unfortunately, all drivers tend to speed when driving on long stretches of road such as highways and freeways. Speeding is extremely dangerous for truck drivers due to their slow reaction time. Commercial trucks have difficulty slowing down and stopping the vehicle, whereas standard car do not have this issue. Accidents are likely to occur when truck drivers speed.
Driver fatigue is inevitable for truck drivers because they tend to drive long hours to transport shipments from one location to another location, however sleep-deprived driving can lead to impaired driving. In high-trafficked states for truck drivers like New Mexico, drivers carrying cargo are prohibited from driving more than 11 hours to prevent fatigue related accidents.
Driving Under the Influence
Although driving under the influence is illegal throughout the United States, it is one of the main causes of truck accidents. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, truck drivers are not allowed to operate a commercial vehicle if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.04%. The BAC requirement for standard car drivers is 0.08% which is significantly less than BAC of 0.08% for truck drivers. These rules and regulations are in place to prevent serious or fatal collisions.
Reckless driving refers to making unsafe and unpredictable driving behaviors. As a defensive driver, it can be nearly impossible to protect yourself and others on the road when dealing with a reckless driver. Truck drivers that drive recklessly can increase the likelihood of serious or fatal accidents due to the large size and heavy weight of the commercial vehicle.
In essence, most common causes of semi-truck accidents can be prevented by the truck driver. Informed truck drivers are safe truck drivers. You can help prevent serious or fatal truck accidents by avoiding drugs or alcohol for the duration of your shift, making sure you sleep in between driving shifts, and drive defensively around the smaller cars on the road.