Trucking accidents are extremely dangerous not only because of their size and weight but also because of the high speeds they’re usually traveling on freeways and highways. One seemingly minor mistake made by a truck driver can cause life-altering consequences for themselves and other motorists on the road around them.
Learn more about common mistakes made by truck drivers and how they increase the likelihood of commercial trucking accidents below.
Truck Drivers and Distracted Driving
One of the biggest and most common mistakes that a truck driver can make is getting distracted while they’re driving. Distractions can come in many forms and are not always avoidable. Here are some of the most common distractions that can happen while operating a commercial truck:
- Cell phones
- Eating or drinking
- Getting lost in thought or daydreaming
These distractions take the driver’s focus off the road and other cars, which can be a fatal mistake when someone is driving a semi-truck. A truck driver who takes their eyes off the road, even momentarily, can cause the truck to swerve into another lane, go off onto the shoulder, or even strike another car. Due to the size and weight of commercial trucks, the injuries that result from such incidents can be catastrophic.
Driving a Truck while Fatigued
Another very common mistake truckers make is continuing to drive even when they feel fatigued. Unfortunately for truckers, they face monumental pressure to make timely deliveries. The pandemic, along with a changing workforce and other shifts in society, only added more pressure with rising expectations.
For instance, there was a trucker shortage of 80,000 drivers heading into 2022, which made existing drivers feel even more pressured to drive despite fatigue. Being tired reduces a trucker’s response time, judgment, and ability to remain vigilant, thereby increasing the risk of serious trucking accidents.
Speeding while Operating a Truck
Unfortunately, increased pressure to make timely deliveries and save costs has also led to an increase in speeding by truck drivers. In addition to the aforementioned issues truckers are facing, the recent train derailments have led to a 6% increase in commercial truck utilization nationwide. With even more demand, truckers may feel as though they have no choice but to speed through deliveries.
Truck drivers who speed in order to meet strict deadlines will have a harder time stopping or reacting to changes in road conditions. On top of that, speeding can compound the severity of an accident and cause catastrophic injuries or even death. In cases where unreasonable deadlines imposed by shipping companies contribute to the cause of an otherwise avoidable commercial vehicle accident, it may be possible to hold both the truck driver and their employer liable for the resulting damages.
Failing to Check Blind Spots
Another major trucker mistake happens when the trucker fails to check their blind spots before making a maneuver. Of all the vehicles on the road, commercial trucks have the largest blind spots. In fact, an entire passenger vehicle can fit within a truck’s blind spot.
A truck driver’s failure to check for cars in their blind spots can quickly cause a crash and create civil liability for their lack of reasonable caution.
Truckers and Aggressive Driving
Aggressive driving is a mistake no driver should make, especially truck drivers. Aggressive driving can include frequent and unnecessary lane switching, blocking the road for other motorists, cutting drivers off, sudden breaking, and more. These behaviors make it harder for other drivers to predict a trucker’s next move and can cause them to lose control of their vehicle, resulting in a preventable accident.
Did One of These Common Trucker Mistakes Cause Your Accident?
Truck drivers, shipping companies, loading companies, truck manufacturers, and other parties all have a legal duty to protect the safety of other motorists on the road. If a truck driver breaches that duty of care by making a negligent mistake while driving, they should be held financially responsible for the ensuing losses. The trucking company that hired them might also share some liability for the damages their employee caused.
If you were recently injured in a trucking accident, you might have legal recourse. To learn more about your legal options after a truck crash, consult with a lawyer at Simmons and Fletcher, P.C. If you’re in the Houston area, we’d like to hear from you. Schedule your free case review to find out more about your legal rights and options.