Why Semi-Truck Trailers Crash
All of us, as we drive on our nation’s highways, witness the dangerous operation of semi-trailer trucks. And it takes no imagination to understand what tremendous damage they can do when they crash. When semis collide with passenger vehicles, in almost all cases the passenger car comes out on the losing end, along with the people inside. West Covina big rig accident attorneys are well familiar with these types of problems. So you might ask, why do semis crash? Here are some answers.
In 2007 the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) conducted a study of 120,000 semi crashes that happened between April 2001 and December 2003 (33 months). Out of those 120,000, they selected 923 representative crash cases and took a hard look at what caused them. Here is part of what they found:
- Truck brake problems – 29 %
- Traveling too fast for conditions – 23%
- Driver Unfamiliar with Road – 22%
- Driver use of Prescription Medication – 17%
- Driver Fatigue – 13%
Here is a short discussion of each one of these chronic semi crash problems:
Brakes/Maintenance: Regardless of vehicle type, brakes are the most important safety device on any motor vehicle, but this is especially true of semi-trucks because of their great size and weight. Trucking companies make their money from keeping their trucks on the road delivering products, and sometimes overall maintenance gets neglected, including brakes. When this happens, obviously the consequences can be grave.
Traveling Too Fast: The old phrase “speed kills” is still true. Again, trucking companies make their money moving product. Often that means meeting the delivery deadlines of their customers. Sometimes, when the deadline becomes too important, good judgment gives way to speed, and the results can be tragic.
Driver Unfamiliar With Road: With most trucks on most runs, they are driving on interstate and two-lane highways they know very well. But this FMCSA study conclusively proved that, once they start driving on an unfamiliar road, the chances of a crash go up substantially. It stands to reason, but truck drivers need to be even more alert.
Driver Prescription Meds: Please note here we are talking about legal doctor-prescribed drugs. But it is well known that many over-the-counter and prescription drugs can have depressive effects on the nervous system. That leads to drivers being less alert and less in touch with their surroundings. This FMCSA study shows that trucking companies need to guard against letting their drivers drive semis when they are on any medication. The simple truth is that, when you are operating a semi, you need to bring all your senses to the job, and you need to be fully alert.
Driver Fatigue: This last factor is huge. Fatigue is far too common in semi accidents. Again, trucking companies make their money by moving product and meeting delivery deadlines. But too often that means pushing the rig and the driver too far for too long. Even though there are federal rules that require drivers to rest a minimum number of hours out of each day, drivers still get pushed too hard. Judgment gets foggy and bad things happen.
West Covina big rig accident attorneys are all too familiar with these types of semi crashes. These problems are not new. The problem is that trucking companies are not taking responsibility for fixing these problems, and bringing the accident rates down. They seem to just “keep on trucking.” So if you, a family member, coworker or a friend are involved in a crash with a semi, it goes without saying you need to talk to a big rig accident attorney. Contact the experienced big rig accident attorneys at Deldar Legal today to discuss your options.
Posted in: Big Rig Accidents