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If the California roads seem crowded to you, there is good reason. Over 15 million tractor-trailers and other large trucks are on U.S. highways each year. With that many trucks on the road, it is no surprise that the number of accidents involving trucks has increased 20 percent since 2008.
As you can imagine, an accident involving a tractor-trailer is more likely to cause serious or even fatal injuries. Since increased safety measures have not reduced the rate of crashes, researchers are examining the most common causes of truck accidents to tackle the root problems.
You are at risk on the highway
Truck manufacturers can add safety technology to their vehicles, but that won’t help if the truck driver makes a serious mistake. Researchers have found that truck driver error was a critical factor in 87 percent of trucking accidents. Those errors included the following:
- Poor decisions: The largest percentage of accidents occurred when truckers went too fast, tailgated or made other dangerous choices.
- Distracted driving: The second biggest category was accidents in which the trucker was was not paying attention to the road or distracted by something.
- Impairment: This includes drivers who fell asleep at the wheel or drove after drinking alcohol, but also drivers who suffered medical emergencies behind the wheel.
- Poor performance: These are accidents caused when the truck driver panicked or was unable to control the vehicle in an urgent situation.
You may be aware that truck drivers are limited in how many hours they can drive in one day, and required to take sleep breaks before starting another long shift. However, the study showed that many of the poor decisions and mistakes truckers make are because they are drowsy while driving. Drowsy driving may cause truckers to go too fast, make illegal moves or allow themselves to be distracted. This places you and your family in danger.
Why are truckers so tired?
Truck drivers are under a lot of pressure. They often have quotas to fill and deadlines to meet. This may cause them to skip their naps and stay on the road too long. They may lie on their driving logs to avoid getting into trouble. However, the real trouble comes when they lose control of their rigs and cause a tragic accident.
If you or your loved ones have suffered injuries in an accident with a truck, it may affect every area of your life. You have the right to seek compensation for your pain and suffering with the assistance of a legal professional.