According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), trucking accidents within the state of Pennsylvania have increased 20% in recent years. Moreover, the NHTSA reports that people are seriously injured or killed in an accident involving a large commercial truck every 16 minutes in the United States.
Considering that 70% of all cargo is transported across the United States by trucks, these statistics are especially alarming. The good news is that the majority of truck accidents can be avoided. Identifying the causes of truck accidents is the first step in keeping Pennsylvania motorists safe on our roadways.
Driver Fatigue is the Number One Cause of Trucking Accidents
Truck drivers notoriously suffer from fatigue due to the pressures of deadlines and delivery schedules. Truck drivers are often paid by the mile, which promotes drivers traveling well past the point of fatigue in an effort to earn more dollars for more miles. The results are drivers that are so tired that their reflexes are slowed, their attention span is decreased, and the danger of causing a drowsy driving accident increases with each mile.
Federal laws regulate driver safety with mandates on how many consecutive hours a truck driver can travel in one 24 hour period. The laws require truckers to take frequent breaks along the way, and have a specified period of time off the road between lengthy trips. Unfortunately, seasoned truck drivers know how to work around the stipulations set by law and are often pushing the limits of their bodies and minds, endangering others along the way.
Other avoidable causes of trucking accidents include speeding, driving aggressively, distracted driving and driver error. Truck drivers that push the speed limits and fail to use caution when driving in traffic pose a significant risk to other motorists. The size and weight of large commercial trucks make it difficult to stop or change lanes quickly. Running yellow traffic lights or failing to stop at intersections are reckless driving behaviors that can result in catastrophic injuries. Using cell phones, onboard infotainment systems, communicating with dispatch operations, and eating can be distracting to the driver, causing them to make unfortunate decisions and ineffective responses to conditions on the road.
Other causes of trucking accidents involve the failure to properly load, maintain, and repair the truck. Improper loading and exceeding weight limits can cause the load in trucks to shift while the truck is in motion. This is often the cause in rollovers and accidents involving trucks that have lost control while in operation. Failure to regularly inspect, repair, and maintain the truck is a violation of federal regulations and can create dangerous conditions to all motorists with instances of failed brakes, missing headlights and tail lights, broken mirrors, and nonworking directional signals.
Though weather conditions cannot be controlled by the commercial trucking industry, enforcing safety regulations for driving in inclement weather can make the difference of life and death for all drivers on the road. It is the truck driver’s responsibility to use common sense and adhere to safety regulations when operating in weather events such as snow, ice, fog, heavy rain, and high winds. Simply slowing down or pulling off the road in dangerous weather conditions can significantly reduce the amount of truck accidents occurring during severe weather patterns.
Commercial truck drivers in general are law abiding and responsible employees, but those who fail to adhere to federal and local laws put all drivers in jeopardy of serious and often fatal injuries. To reduce the risk of getting into an accident with a large truck, motorists need to practice safety when sharing the roadways. Drivers should always yield to trucks changing lanes, signal their own intentions, and keep a safe distance between them and the truck in front of them. In dangerous weather conditions, assume that the truck driver cannot see you and use caution when passing.
Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers of Geoffrey B. Gompers & Associates Advocate for Victims of Truck Accidents in Pennsylvania and New Jersey
If you have been involved in a car accident with a truck, you know all too well how serious the consequences can be for all involved. If you or someone you know has suffered injury or death as a result of a trucking accident, call the Philadelphia car accident lawyers at Geoffrey B. Gompers & Associates at 215-567-6600 or complete the online contact form to schedule a consultation today. Our dedicated team of attorneys is committed to obtaining the maximum compensation available to you under Pennsylvania and New Jersey law. With offices conveniently located in center city Philadelphia and Voorhees, New Jersey, Geoffrey B. Gompers & Associates serve clients throughout both states.