Four Common Causes of Truck-Car Accidents

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In New Orleans and in all of Louisiana, we commonly have to use I-10 and other major roadways to get us to and from our major cities:  Baton Rouge, Covington, Lafayette, and all the rest.  Between suburb-to-city commutes and families who live around the State of Louisiana, highway travel is unavoidable.  But, because of the widespread presence of trucks on the road, it can also be very dangerous.

Stories of truck accidents, whether endured, spotted, or nearly avoided by friends and family members, abound in our friend and family circles in Louisiana. 

This kind of unsafe driving is only one of many causes of truck accidents, however.  And while it’s so important to be a safe driver when operating a regular vehicle, the risk of injuring others while driving a truck is much higher.   It’s common knowledge that “big rig” trucks are much larger than even the largest car, and the resulting impact in a car accident can be nothing short of disastrous.

Driver Fatigue

Truck drivers are known to “power through” their shifts by driving overnight and for long distances without resting so that they can increase their profits.  While the US Department of Transportation has created rules and regulations to combat the presence of truck driver fatigue, not all drivers or truck driving companies abide by these rules in the interest of higher income.  The result is many truck drivers pushing their physical limits, and this can result in lack of mental presence and, of course, a collision.

Substance Use

Reports show that US truck drivers have the highest usage of alcohol while driving over drivers from a handful of other countries, around 12.5%.  As if that weren’t frightening enough, there was also a lower percentage of truck drivers shown to use amphetamines or stimulants while driving, so that they could stay awake for longer periods of time.  This was shown to be linked to poor working conditions for truck drivers.

Poor Truck Maintenance

Sometimes companies cut corners to save on profits, and trucking companies sometimes do the same when it comes to truck maintenance.  A truck driver can be extremely safe and cautious in his driving, but if the truck is not well maintained and malfunctions, safe driving doesn’t matter.  Improper maintenance of brakes, tires, and alignments can all result in a truck accident.  The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration does indeed have guidelines in place to prevent this, but sadly, truck companies all too commonly ignore these guidelines to look out for their bottom line.

Improper Loading

When a load is not properly distributed and secured on a truck, it can inhibit the driver’s ability to control the truck as it imbalances it.  Sometimes, the load can even fall out onto the roadways and into the traffic lanes, causing an accident.  This is, again, due to noncompliance with standard trucking procedures.

Always be safe and extra aware when sharing the roads with trucks.  If you or someone you know has been in an accident with a truck, the best thing is to contact an attorney before accepting any kind of settlement.