According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation, last year was the deadliest year in more than a decade on the country’s roads, with almost 40,000 people that died in vehicle crashes. One of the deadliest crashes that occur is those that happen with tractor-trailers. The massive size and weight of these vehicles leave little chance for occupants inside a regular passenger vehicle. For those victims who actually survive these crashes, the resulting injuries are often catastrophic.
Causes of Truck Accidents
There are many reasons why a truck driver gets into an accident, but statistics show that one of the most common causes is that the driver was under the influence of either alcohol or drugs. Studies have shown that many truck drivers turn to these substances as a way of combatting heavy fatigue caused by lack of sleep. Many drivers self-medicate by using alcohol, marijuana, amphetamines, and cocaine. The use of these drugs is so widespread that in studies, almost 30 percent of drivers admit they use amphetamines to stay awake. Another 50 percent admit to drinking alcohol while driving.
The Large Truck Crash Causation Study
A major study that was conducted by Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) was a major eye-opener of just how dangerous trucking has become. Some of the factors cited in the report include:
- Driver fatigue;
- Driving off the edge of the road;
- Driving too fast for road or weather conditions;
- Encroachment of another vehicle into the truck’s lane;
- Improper truck maneuvering during normal operation;
- Lane drifting;
- Loss of control due to a mechanical failure of a critical event, such as a blowout;
- Poor road conditions;
- Shifting cargo; and
- Vehicle failure.
In 2015, the FMCSA passed a regulation that would require all truck drivers to track their hours of service into a logging device. The agency set the date that regulation goes into effect in order to give drivers and trucking companies time to obtain the proper equipment. The date it goes into effect is fast approaching, December 18th of this year.
The new rule will make it easier for state and federal trucking regulators to make sure that all drivers are abiding by the stringent hour limitations that are in place. The current system makes it too easy for a driver or trucking company to enter false information in the logs in order to keep the driver on the road longer than he or she safely should be.
Virginia Truck Accident Attorneys
If you have been injured or have lost a loved one in a truck accident, our Virginia truck accident attorneys are available to discuss the circumstances of your case and what legal recourse you may have against those who may be responsible for the accident.