In a recent article, we talked about truck accidents in Knoxville and the greater Tri-Cities of Kingsport, Johnson City, and Bristol. We discussed how important it is to remain safe when driving near trucks on the road, and provided a tragic example of how accidents involving trucks can be fatal.
Like car wrecks, there are a dozen different causes of truck accidents, making them a huge danger to other drivers, pedestrians, and even property. Whether it’s a collision with another truck, a car, a person, or a building, truck accidents are often life or death situations… but in some cases, they can be avoided with proper road safety.
At G3 Help Me law, our personal injury attorneys are here to ensure you and your loved ones are safe on the road, which starts with knowing what signs to look out for.
More often than not, Tennessee truck accidents are caused by:
- Speeding. Truck drivers spend a lot of time on the road. Driving long distances in short periods of time can cause some drivers to feel impatient and speed up, simply to get to their destination faster. But with the pressure of looming delivery dates and stress from employers to meet driving deadlines, truck drivers feel an even greater need to speed. While the driver with “lead foot” is the one breaking the law, we can also be more aware of our surroundings to ensure there’s extra space between us and any speeding trucks.
- Overloading. Many truck owners and drivers carry loads of goods that exceed the maximum weight limit. While this puts the truck driver at risk of a tire blowout, brake problems, and steering issues, it also puts nearby drivers at risk. It may sound simple, but the heavier the truck, the higher the chance that a problem will occur that can result in an unexpected collision.
- Overworking & exhaustion. Similar to speeding, overworked or tired truck drivers are also a result of spending a lot of time behind the wheel. Unfortunately, they have jobs to do and quotas to meet, so this is a fairly common cause of truck accidents. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, driver fatigue contributes to 40% of all accidents and truck drivers can be even more prone to issues associated with fatigue, such as accumulated sleep deficit and sleep apnea.
To help avoid a wreck due to overworking or exhaustion, the transport sector has put up strict rules that guide the commercial truck driver’s service hours. In addition, it’s mandatory that drivers enter the details of their shifts. Altering records in order to earn more money by putting in more hours on the road may cause accidents, and is illegal.
- Distractions. Truck drivers are human, meaning they can make mistakes. One common mistake made by all drivers is engaging in distracting activities, such as texting, eating, answering calls, or simply adjusting their radio or dashboard. In general, consumers are more addicted to their devices than ever, meaning even hands-free technology like bluetooth and back-up cameras that you may assume are safe can serve as dangerous distractions on the road.
- DUIs & DWIs. Not surprisingly, another common cause of truck accidents (and accidents of pretty much any other kind) is drivers under the influence of substances that impair their judgement. Some truck drivers may consume alcohol and choose to drive after. Others may use drugs (whether legally prescribed or illegally obtained) with known side effects like drowsiness or blurred vision. These drivers are one of the biggest accident risk factors on the road today.
- Poorly maintained trucks. Some trucks are poorly maintained with brake systems and engines that could fail at any given time. In order to minimize expenses and save on costly repairs, many owners and drivers are reluctant to get their trucks looked at, even if it’s been awhile. Like car drivers, trucks need to be “patched up” from time to time before heading out on the road. If they aren’t, it could be an accident waiting to happen.
- Lack of etiquette or improper road education. A lack of manners when driving, sometimes referred to as “road rage,” causes accidents every day (think of how many people you’ve tailed or that have tailed you too closely recently). In truck drivers, a lack of etiquette is even more dangerous, due to the size and weight of the vehicle their handling alone.
In addition, a lack of proper education is also a common cause of accidents. Some truck drivers just don’t have the necessary education on road safety and laws in the area (especially when crossing state lines). Untrained drivers make bad calls on the road all the time based on confusion or misinformation, but staying aware of this risk factor can help you spot an uneducated driver from far away so you can maintain a farther distance. Better safe than sorry!
If you or someone you know is looking for help after a Knoxville or Tri-Cities area truck accident, we’re here to help. Give us a call at (865) 658-4012 to schedule your free, confidential case evaluation today. And as always, stay safe out there.