Every driver makes occasional mistakes. We accidentally cut someone off or drive too fast. We get distracted or forget to use a turn signal.
These mistakes do not always lead to accidents, but they do serve as powerful reminders to stay attentive, mind the rules of the road, and practice defensive driving. After all, the potential consequences of these errors can be catastrophic.
This is especially true for truck drivers, whose errors behind the wheel can lead to accidents resulting in serious injuries and fatalities.
Semi trucks are massive vehicles that require care and attention to operate safely. Unfortunately, negligence on the part of truck drivers and their employers is commonplace, presenting a serious danger to other motorists.
At Colombo Law, we focus a significant part of our practice on collisions involving 18-wheelers. Contact us today for a free consultation with a truck accident lawyer.
Driving While Fatigued
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulates how long truck drivers are allowed to be on the road before taking a break. The hours of service regulations permit up to 11 hours of driving within a 14-hour period. Drivers must then take a 10-hour break before resuming the haul.
Anyone who has driven long distances understands how monotonous and exhausting it can be. Nevertheless, truck drivers have a responsibility to always prioritize safety, meaning they should take a break if they begin to feel drowsy. Unfortunately, under the pressure of tight deadlines, they may choose to keep driving.
Drivers also sometimes surpass the FMCSA’s legal limits. While this may strictly be an error on the driver’s part, trucking companies have been known to pressure their drivers to stay on the road longer than legally allowed in an effort to move cargo further and faster. If this kind of behavior leads to an accident, both the driver and the trucking company may be held liable for the subsequent damages.
Read More: Can I Sue for Being Hit by a Semi Truck?
Although driving long stretches can be monotonous, truck drivers must never give in to the temptations of distracted driving. Distracted driving accidents commonly involve issues such as texting, eating, watching videos, or any other activity that takes the driver’s full attention away from the road.
Unfortunately, distracted driving is one of the most common causes of truck accidents. According to the FMCSA, one study found that “71 percent of large-truck crashes occurred when the truck driver was doing something besides driving the truck.”
Driving a truck is not like driving a passenger vehicle. They are much harder to control, take longer to stop, and have multiple blind spots. Hence, while excess speed is dangerous regardless of the type of vehicle, speeding in a semi truck poses even more serious dangers.
As with all of the errors discussed here, the risks of speeding in a truck far outweigh the rewards. No matter how quickly truck drivers want to arrive at their destination, there is no excuse for putting the lives of others at risk by driving too fast.
Aggressive driving is, in many ways, one of the most avoidable and inexcusable types of driver error. It may not be completely accurate to refer to it as an “error” because it is usually a deliberate choice.
We all get frustrated on the road from time to time, but truck drivers giving in to their frustration and driving aggressively – cutting drivers off, tailgating, brake checking, weaving in and out of traffic, etc. – should never happen.
This frustration and the subsequent aggressive behavior can sometimes be related to the unrealistic deadlines placed upon truck drivers. As a result, the driver’s employer may also be liable for truck accidents that occur due to aggressive driving.
Driving Under the Influence
As with aggressive driving, driving under the influence is completely inexcusable. Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration over the last 10 years show that more than 10,000 people are killed annually in drunk driving crashes.
Truck drivers are held to a higher standard than the drivers of other vehicles when it comes to drinking and driving. The FMCSA has instituted a 0.04 percent blood alcohol content limit for drivers operating commercial rigs – half the 0.08 percent legal limit for other drivers.
Unfortunately, truck drivers still sometimes consume alcohol or use drugs and get behind the wheel. Trucking companies are responsible for regularly screening drivers for drugs and alcohol. If they fail in this duty, both the impaired truck driver and his or her employer may be liable in the event of an accident.
Speak to a Truck Accident Lawyer Today
Although we are all human and make mistakes while driving, truck drivers have an immense responsibility to drive safely at all times. The danger their vehicles pose is significant, and losing focus – even for a second – can ruin lives.
Colombo Law is a leading truck accident firm. We have the experience, knowledge, and resources to investigate how the crash happened and who is at fault, as well as the tenacity to fight for the compensation you deserve. Our truck accident lawyers have recovered millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements on behalf of victims and their families.
To speak to an experienced truck accident lawyer, please call (614) 362-7000 today for a free case review. Colombo Law serves clients in Columbus and throughout Ohio.