Truck Accidents – Causes, Casualties, And Statistics
Most people understand that there are significant differences between driving a car and driving a truck. Furthermore, people who decide that they would like to drive a truck need to have a special license that is more than just a traditional driver’s license. This is with good reason because trucks, due to their significantly larger size, are more dangerous vehicles. They are harder to control and often carrying valuable cargo. Because of this, accidents involving trucks have the potential to be particularly severe. The statistics on truck accidents bear this out, helping to highlight just how important it is for people to use extra caution while driving near a truck.
Why are Trucks More Dangerous?
One of the most common questions people ask is why people need a special license to operate a truck in the first place. What makes a truck different from driving a standard automobile? First, trucks are significantly larger. This means that the sheer size of a truck makes it significantly deadlier than a standard car. Next, cars often carry a trailer. Trying to steer a car is hard enough but truck drivers must also find a way to steer the trailer in the proper direction as well. This is only an added challenge. Finally, the cab of a truck obstructs any potential rear-view mirror. This means that truck drivers often cannot see what is going on behind them, meaning that they have a much larger blind spot. All of these issues, and more, make trucks dangerous on the open road. This is why they require special skill to operate.
Causes of Truck Accidents: Distracted Driving
Like many car accidents today, truck accidents are often triggered by distracted driving. As technology continues to become more and more advanced, people are always looking for ways to multi-task. Drivers everywhere have a tendency to talk on their phone and even text while driving. Even though truck drivers often put down the phone while driving, other people on the road may not do so. This means that truck drivers must continue to be aware of the potential of distracted driving to play a role in a truck accident. Talking on the phone while driving takes the mind off of the task at hand; however, texting while driving is an even bigger issue because this takes both the eyes off of the road and the hands off of the wheel. If a truck driver loses control of their cab, the consequences can be devastating.
Causes of Truck Accidents: Driver Fatigue
Many people have driven down the road and noticed that there are weigh stations along the way. While these weigh stations do serve the purpose of allowing a truck to “weigh in,” they also serve other purposes. Truck drivers are often paid by the mile so the incentive is there to try and drive as many miles as possible; however, this can also be a dangerous game. When truck drivers try to drive extra miles, they often do so at the expense of sleep. This makes them prone to falling asleep behind the wheel and losing control of their vehicles, often with deadly consequences. Weigh stations help to serve as a check on drivers to make sure that they do not drive too many miles at once.
Casualties: Truck Accidents can be Deadly
Because trucks are so large, accidents involving them are often incredibly deadly. The statistics from 2015 help to bear this out. According to numbers from the department of transportation, over 4,300 trucks and buses were involved in a deadly accident of some sort. This represents an increase of close to 10 percent from a year before that in 2014, indicating that these accidents are only becoming deadlier. This is a troubling trend that everyone should pay attention to.
The Number of Miles Driven is Remaining Steady
Despite the increase in the rate of fatal accidents involving trucks, the number of miles driven by large trucks has remained relatively constant. The number of miles driven in 2015, compared to 2014, increased by only 0.3 percent. This helps to highlight the point that a significantly larger number of accidents is occurring despite the number of miles driven remaining steady. Why are more accidents occurring at the same distance? There must be some reason why and only identifying this reason will help to stop these deadly accidents from developing.
What to Do if Involved in a Truck Accident
If someone is involved in an accident involving a truck on the open road, there are several steps that should be taken. First, the important point is to remain calm and take a deep breath. Then, assess everyone in the vehicle to see if anyone is hurt. 911 should be called so that the accident can be reported; however, it is important to ask for medical help so that anyone who has been hurt can be helped. Then, everyone should try to exit the vehicle just in case a dangerous liquid is leaking. Take a look at the scene and see if anyone needs help.
Clearly, truck accidents are a significant issue and, as the highways continue to become more crowded and technology continues to become more of a distraction, will only continue to be a major issue. Those who have been involved in a truck accident should be sure to seek high-quality medical care immediately so that their injuries can be tended to. After this, those who have been hurt should consider speaking to an experienced legal counsel for advice. The experienced truck accidents attorneys at GOM Law located conveniently in McAllen, TX, is available to answer any and all questions that individuals involved in a truck accident might have. Do not hesitate to reach out because everyone needs a helping hand in a time of need.