Commercial truckers are, for the most part, highly-skilled professionals. They attend specialty educational courses to help them master the control of large commercial trucks. Many of them also have years of experience hauling freight either in the area where they live or from coast to coast every week.
Despite the skill and education possessed by most commercial drivers, collisions between passenger vehicles and commercial trucks are a constant, pressing concern. Crashes can occur for all kinds of reasons, ranging from road conditions to system failures in vehicles. However, there are three common risks that contribute to many of the collisions that occur between commercial vehicles and passenger vehicles.
1. Fatigue at the wheel
Many commercial drivers have strict deadlines for their deliveries. They may have refrigerated merchandise or other products that have to reach their destination by a specific time. Their employers tend to schedule them to drive for as long as is legal given the nature of their route.
For many commercial drivers, there are Hours of Service rules that limit how many hours they can work consecutively, how many hours they can drive in a day and how many hours they can drive in a week. Violations of the Hours of Service rules often mean that fatigue drivers will be on the road, putting everyone else at risk.
The physical characteristics of a commercial truck make it harder to maneuver than smaller vehicles. Drivers need to start slowing down farther away from a stopping point than people in smaller vehicles do. They also need to employ great care when turning or going around a curve, as they could experience a rollover.
Unfortunately, being on the road for 10 hours a day or longer can lead to fatigue or road hypnosis, which some drivers try to combat by talking to loved ones. Texting, emailing or even dialing a phone are all violations of the federal no-text rule because they can increase a driver’s reaction time and thus the possibility of a wreck.
Speeding in a big truck
The faster a commercial vehicle travels, the longer it will take to come to a complete stop. Many roads with higher speed limits have lower limits for commercial trucks than for other vehicles. The rules are different for a reason. Unfortunately, the pressure to finish their shifts on time or get deliveries in might lead to commercial drivers traveling at far faster speeds than would be safe given road conditions.
All of these factors are technically outside of your control, and they could lead to you getting hurt out on the road. Pursuing an insurance claim or a lawsuit maybe necessary if you end up injured or your vehicle gets totaled in a commercial vehicle crash.