Driving is always a safety-critical task, but managing a vehicle that is many times larger than the average vehicle on the road is even more risky. Individuals in control of semi-trucks and other commercial vehicles might cause crashes that affect numerous other vehicles and result in absolutely devastating injuries.
Occasionally, there are crashes that occur due to unusual circumstances that no one could have predicted or prevented. However, most collisions directly relate to mistakes or legal violations made by one of the motorists involved. For example, the following mistakes often contribute to the causes of semi-truck crashes.
Many commercial drivers are under a lot of pressure to get their loads in on time. Their employment or rate of pay may depend on making on-time deliveries, which might lead to them speeding because there are limits to how long they can continue driving without violating federal rules. Commercial trucks are difficult to drive safely in the best of circumstances, and those operating them at unusually high speeds could very easily lead control and cause a wreck. Making the wrong choice about speed is a common reason commercial drivers cause crashes.
Driving while fatigued
Commercial drivers may end up on the road for the maximum number of hours allowed by law every time they work. In addition to driving for work, they may have a commute to and from where they pick up the truck that they drive and a daily obligation to fulfill family responsibilities. Those that don’t get adequate sleep often have trouble making the right decisions while driving or staying awake at the wheel. Sleep deprivation makes it very easily cause a crash due to increased reaction times or impaired cognitive ability.
Commercial motorists spend so long on the road that they may become socially isolated. They might also experience so-called highway hypnosis, which results in them having a hard time staying awake because of the monotonous environment in which they work. Despite clear federal rules against manually using a phone while driving a commercial vehicle, some professionals will do so anyway. Others will engage in hands-free conversations that become mentally distracting or will decide to eat and drink at the wheel to make themselves more alert. All of those forms of distraction can affect the driver’s reaction time and increase the likelihood that they will cause a crash.
When a semi-truck causes a collision, the people affected may need to negotiate a large insurance claim or prepare for civil litigation. Understanding why professional motorists cause semi-truck crashes may help people to effectively hold responsible parties accountable for causing them harm.