An auto accident involving a commercial truck or tractor-trailer often has devastating consequences. Catastrophic injuries such as brain injury and spinal cord injury are common, but truck accidents are also among the deadliest of motor vehicle collisions and crashes. In 2017 alone, there were 450,000 truck accidents reported to the police in the U.S., of which 4,237 caused death and 344,000 led to injuries.
Our attorney has helped countless injured victims pursue compensation, and there are many reasons why truck accidents are so common, including:
1. Driver Fatigue or "Drowsy Driving"
Truck drivers are often overworked to meet highly demanding deliveries that require long-distance drives. For many of these drivers, that means sacrificing sleep to meet deadlines. Driving while you're tired or drowsy causes you to lose concentration, impairs coordination, and can lead to truck drivers falling asleep at the wheel.
2. Substances Abuse
Alcohol and illicit drugs are unfortunately more commonly used within the trucking industry than many people realize. That also includes some prescription medications that cause cognitive or physical impairment. Drinking alcohol and using medicinal or non-medicinal drugs that cause loss of coordination, poor judgment, and other changes put everyone on the road in danger—particularly when you consider 83 percent of truck accident fatalities in 2017 were not occupants of the large trucks.
3. Distracted Driving
There are three forms of driving distractions—visual, manual, and cognitive. Dangerous habits, such as texting and driving, violate all three. Truck drivers on cross-country deliveries may get bored and reach for their phones to scroll through social media sites, respond or read texts, and make calls to loved ones. The simple act of searching for a new radio station is enough to reduce your reaction time and attention to the road. An estimated one in four auto accidents involves distracted driving.
4. Poor Maintenance and Training
New truck drivers have to go through the minimum requirements to be eligible to drive large trucks and tractor-trailers. They must meet a threshold number of hours of training, but not all drivers and trucking companies make sure these requirements are met. Additionally, the truck is supposed to be checked before getting on the road to make sure it's in safe, working condition. That may also be skipped in the interest of time and costs of maintenance.
5. Reckless Driving
Environmental and construction factors such as bad weather, and closed lanes, can push back a driver's delivery time, which makes them speed and drive recklessly to make up the time. Speeding can cause smaller cars to veer off the road and reduce reaction times so truck drivers can't stop easily if the traffic slows or a vehicle brakes in front of them. The trucking company may also employ corruptive systems that reward those who drive longer hours and speed to meet deadlines. These unrealistic expectations and schedules can have deadly consequences.
6. Accidents Caused by Other Vehicles
Sometimes truck accidents are caused by other drivers on the road operating smaller vehicles. That can include driving in a blind zone of the truck where the driver can't see you, changing lanes quickly or without a signal, stopping suddenly in front of the truck, improper merging, braking, and unsafe passing, to name a few.
Contact the Mauer Law Firm in Fishkill, New York
If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck accident, our attorneys in Fishkill can help. Schedule your FREE case evaluation at the Maurer Law Firm today at (845) 896-5295. We help clients in surrounding New York areas, including Lagrangeville, Myers Corner, Beacon, and Hudson Valley.