Collisions involving 18-wheelers and commercial trucks can result in devastating property damage and catastrophic injuries. These huge motor vehicles often destroy any smaller passenger cars or trucks that get in their path leaving severe injuries in their wake. Every situation is unique, but there are often common reasons why these deadly collisions occur.
While the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) will soon take a detailed look at large truck crash statistics, there are four common factors that could lead to a collision involving an 18-wheeler or commercial truck:
- Distracted driving: With so much time spent behind the wheel, truck drivers are often tempted to multitask while trying to safely navigate the road. From having cell phone conversations and personal grooming to eating while driving and watching a movie on an electronic device, any activity that pulls a driver’s attention from the traffic and road conditions is a dangerous distraction.
- Drowsy driving: Forced to work long hours in often-monotonous conditions, large truck drivers often get fatigued behind the wheel. Unfortunately, drowsy driving can result in failure to recognize stopped traffic or drifting into oncoming lanes.
- Impaired driving: While impairment used to only mean drunk driving, the category can also mean drugged driving or driving under the influence of strong prescription medication. These substances can dull perceptions, blur vision, cause fatigue or otherwise hinder the ability to safely navigate traffic.
- Defective safety equipment: While an 18-wheeler must undergo regular service, certain safety equipment might still fail at high speeds. From tire blowouts to brake failure, a large truck is only as safe as its mechanical components.
Truck drivers are considered professional operators with the benefit of additional training and thousands of hours of practice in all conditions. Unfortunately, this does not mean their skills are infallible. These drivers can fall victim to outside factors, weather, mechanical failure and overconfidence. Unfortunately, a collision caused by an 18-wheeler will likely result in serious injuries or vehicle occupant fatalities.