The Common Causes of Truck Accidents

Numerous accidents across the state of Texas involve large trucks, such as 18-wheelers, every year. Texas actually has the highest rate of fatal accidents involving trucks, despite not having the largest number of fatal car accidents. The causes of these accidents are as varied as the accidents themselves.

Negligence on the part of the truck driver or on the part of the driver of the other vehicle is a very common cause. Other causes include but are definitely not limited to: - Aggressive drivers and driving: We've all experienced the feeling of an 18-wheeler inching right up onto the rear bumper of our cars in order to make us speed up so they can go faster as well. This common practice of truck drivers does not give them the time or space needed to stop if the car that is right in front of them should have to break quickly and so accidents, often serious ones, occur.

- Unrealistic schedules: The trucking industry has many national carriers that are all competing to get the most business. They all promise to move goods from Point A to Point B as quickly as possible in order to beat their competitors. This translates to unrealistic delivery schedules for the drivers. It is easy for someone in an office to promise that goods will make it from Alaska to Florida in two days. It is much more difficult, if not impossible, for a truck driver to follow through with that promise. This translates to drivers driving for way too long.

- Cell phone use while driving: Using the cell phone has become such a common cause of accidents, regardless of the vehicle involved, that some states have banned the use of these lovely toys while driving. In many places, it is now a crime to talk on your cell phone and drive at the same time. Unfortunately, this is not true everywhere. - Tailgating: This is a manifestation of aggressive driving.

It means that the driver is following the car in front of it way too closely. When this occurs, it is almost impossible for a truck travelling at 65 mph to stop without hitting someone or causing other vehicles to hit it. In these instances, it is almost always the fault of the truck driver that the accident occurred. An 18-wheeler truck traveling at 70 miles per hour has twice as much energy and force going into a crash as an 18-wheeler traveling at 50 mph.

In addition, automobiles are designed under Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards to encounter like-size vehicles, not 80,000 pound trucks. A sedan, regardless of how safe it is when crashing into another sedan, is not built to protect its passengers from 80,000 pound 18-wheelers. Added hazards include the absence of rear and side bumpers and high front bumpers that punch into automobile passenger compartments.

These factors account for the higher than normal percentage of serious injuries and deaths in crashes between a truck and a car.

Joe Devine

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