1. Driver tiredness
Truck driving is a high-pressure and high-stress job. Frequently trucking companies require drivers to deliver goods to a specific destination within a short period. This means they travel long distances with short interruptions and little rest.
Sometimes the number of miles to travel takes several days on the road, leaving drivers with too few hours of sleep and often even that sleep of inadequate quality. As a result, they lose concentration and coordination and react more slowly to driving situations, not to mention the danger of falling asleep while driving.
There are laws and regulations about how many hours a truck driver can drive in one shift, how much sleep is required, and when rest breaks should be taken. However, many companies do not follow these guidelines, and driver tiredness remains a big problem.
2. Distracted driving
Distracted driving is a ubiquitous problem, both on local roads and on highways. Distracted driving refers to any activity that distracts attention from the main task of driving a vehicle.
Let's face it - driving long distances can be monotonous. The driver may not have a good radio signal in rural areas, so there is not much entertainment here. This boredom can lead the trucker to risk texting, looking at his phone for a podcast or playlist, eating, or doing whatever else. Even where there are good radio stations, the simple act of reaching out and playing with the radio tuning takes the driver's eyes and concentration away from the road.
When a driver takes his eyes off the road, even for a split second, there is the potential for disaster. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated that 10% of fatal accidents and 15% of injury crashes in 2015 were caused by distracted driving.
3. Alcohol and drugs
You may not be guessing that trucking has a high alcohol and drug abuse level, but it is. Some truck drivers use amphetamines and cocaine to keep themselves awake while driving.
A recent study found that 30% of truck drivers admitted to taking amphetamines at work. And 20% used marijuana and 3% - cocaine. These drugs force drivers to stay awake, but they also force them to take more risks, such as speeding up traffic, unsafe lane changes, and risky maneuvers in bad weather. Once the stimulants take effect, drivers are more likely to fall asleep while driving.
4. Speeding and overtaking
Sometimes the driver cannot make delivery within the time allotted by the employer, but he still tries to do it. Due to the pressure and tight deadlines, the driver can go faster than normal for a vehicle of this size or possibly faster than road conditions. If a driver thinks he might lose his job if the goods don't arrive at a certain time, he will likely speed up to get there. As a result, a huge truck rushes right behind a small passenger car.
If you've ever looked in your rearview mirror and saw an 18-wheeled vehicle approaching you from behind, you've probably done your best to get out of the way. Often, leaving the road means leaving the road or entering another lane abruptly, leading to accidents.
5. Poor training and maintenance
There are rules and requirements for how many hours of training a driver must complete before driving a commercial vehicle. And yet, some drivers manage to get out on the road without meeting these requirements.
Bad weather happens everywhere, be it wind, rain, or snow. It takes a lot of experience and rigorous training to drive safely in bad weather, especially when maneuvering a large commercial truck. It is important that the truck drives even slower than normal (and slower than the established speed limits) in poor weather conditions to prevent skidding, hydroplaning, or slipping. If a driver is not trained to properly drive a truck in bad weather conditions, he puts himself and other road users at risk.
The trucking company must also check every truck before it goes on the road, but this often does not happen. There are costs associated with maintenance, and it takes valuable time that companies know can be used instead to make deliveries. Therefore, sometimes routine maintenance takes a back seat, and the truck ends up on the road without being safe to drive.
Suppose a truck is poorly maintained or has defective parts. In that case, several parties may be responsible: the part manufacturer, the truck manufacturer, the transport company that operates the truck, or the mechanic responsible for repair or maintenance. Suppose you are involved in a truck accident that involves an equipment failure. In that case, you can also file a product liability claim.
6. Incorrect loading of cargo
Each load must correspond to a specific weight, size, length, width, and height. If a truck is transporting hazardous materials, there are even stricter regulations for handling them.
However, mistakes do happen, and the load makes the truck too heavy and can tip over. If the load falls on the road, it can be disastrous. Likewise, hazardous materials can catch fire or create other hazardous situations.