According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there were 368,000 large trucks involved in crashes in 2006 alone. These accidents, given the size of the vehicles involved, can be catastrophic, resulting in severe injury and death. There are a number of causes for large truck accidents. These causes include, but are not limited to:Overloaded Trucks Poor tire maintenance Poor or defective roadways Poor driver training Unrealistic schedules leading to Driver fatigue Unsafe speeds Overloaded Trucks
Overloaded trucks pose a number of threats on the roadway, and can cause an accident in a number of ways:Can leave the truck dangerously slow going uphill Can cause the truck to pick up dangerous amounts of speed going downhill Can stress brakes to the point of failure Can cause the truck to tip over more easily Can put unnecessary and often dangerous stress on roadways and bridges.
Overloaded trucks can also put undo strain on tires and lead toBlown Tires
Tires can blow out for a number of reasons, including defective installation, improper airing, and deterioration over time (often with spares). Sometimes even the wrong kind of tires can be put on a large truck, leading to a blowout. Blown tires can easily lead to tractor trailers tipping and rolling over. Defective tires are also a symptom of the larger problem of defective parts. Since many companies use refurbished parts in order to save money, these trucks are not always equipped with the safest or even most reliable parts, leading to equipment failure on the road and severe accidents. Common accidents involving defective parts often begin with:Worn brakes Re-treaded tires Faulty hitches and safety straps Faulty or incorrect tie-downs and falling loads Faulty underride bars that prevent cars from sliding under the truck Dangerous Roadways
There are a number of issues that lead to dangerous roadways, and also a number of ways in which a roadway can be defective. A roadway can be deteriorated over time by:Poor construction Improper use or overuse Poor maintenance Natural factors such as weather
These deteriorations can lead to accidents caused by:Dangerous potholes Sediments or liquids on the roads surface Uneven shoulders and medians Excess debris Inadequate or incorrect warning signs and signals Driver Error
Driver error is a major factor in a large number of accidents involving trucks, and driver error can be compounded by a number of factors, including:Bad weather Nighttime driving conditions Foreign trucks with differing safety standards
If not given adequate training, truck drivers are susceptible to the dangers of bad weather. High winds, fog, rain, snow, heat, and the low visibility of night can all wreak havoc with a tractor trailer and prove too much for even a ski lled driver, especially when combined with driver fatigue from attempting to meet an unrealistic schedule. Drivers without adequate training are no match for these conditions. Substance abuse can also severely impair a drivers ability to control their vehicle. Given the influx of drivers from Mexico after the passage of NAFTA, and the lax truck laws and regulations in Mexico, the question of whether the drivers of trucks are fully trained to operate their vehicles safely and are doing so responsibly is even more pressing.
The wide variety of possible causes of truck accidents makes determining the cause and understanding the causes ramifications a difficult proposition for the average person.