Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Commercial truck accidents take thousands of lives each year. The size and weight of big rigs make them formidable opponents in vehicle collisions. Passengers of smaller vehicles almost always suffer more severe injuries than truck occupants. Truck companies and their drivers have a duty to obey federal safety and operation laws. Breaking these laws and other acts of negligence are common causes of truck accidents in Boston and Massachusetts.
What Causes Boston Truck Accidents?
Almost all truck accidents come from human error. They are preventable tragedies that would occur far less often if everyone involved in the trucking industry did their part to avoid collisions. Truck companies, their staff members, truck drivers, cargo loaders, truck owners, maintenance crews and part manufacturers can all cause truck accidents in Massachusetts if they breach their duties of care.
- Poorly trained truck drivers
- Distracted truck drivers/texting and driving
- Hours of service violations and drowsy drivers
- Driving while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs
- Speeding or reckless driving
- Improper truck operation or braking techniques
- Large blind spots (No Zones) and improper lookout
- Unsafe lane changes
- Poorly secured cargo or unevenly loaded truck
- Broken state and federal trucking laws
After a truck accident, the victim may have to determine causation and fault. Although Massachusetts uses a no-fault auto accident law, a victim can pursue compensation through a personal injury lawsuit if he or she has serious injuries. Determining fault for a truck accident in Boston often requires help from an attorney and investigators.
How Can Truck Accidents Be Prevented?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has rules in place for all trucking companies and drivers in the country to follow. These rules touch on everything from truck driver hiring and training procedures to how to transport hazardous cargo. It is up to those involved in the transportation of goods to obey all FMCSA regulations. Violations to save time or money can lead to trucks that are unfit for the road, negligent drivers, lost cargo loads and tragic accidents.
It is often possible to prevent truck accidents by obeying all of the FMCSA’s rules and regulations. Sticking to hours-of-service orders, for example, could reduce the number of drowsy driving truck accidents. Another way to prevent truck accidents is by improving truck driver attention and care behind the wheel. Truck driver negligence causes a large percentage of fatal truck accidents each year. Properly maintaining a company’s fleet could help prevent equipment-related accidents.
How Many Accidents Do Semi-Trucks Cause?
On top of regulating the federal trucking industry through hundreds of rules and standards, the FMCSA also keeps a record of most recent truck accident statistics to better understand their causes and how to prevent wrecks in the future. According to the 2017 Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts Report, the rate of truck accidents has increased, not decreased.
The report states that 4,657 fatal accidents in 2017 involved semi-trucks. This was a 10% increase from 4,251 fatal truck accidents in 2016. The number of semi-trucks involved in serious injury accidents was 107,000, an increase of 5% from 2016. The rate of large truck involvement in fatal accidents per 100 million miles traveled was 1.56, a 6% increase from the previous year.
In 2017, single-vehicle accidents made up 20% of all fatal large truck collisions. Most crashes, however, involved a large truck and a smaller vehicle. Eighty-two percent (82%) of victims killed in truck accidents were not occupants of the truck. Three-fourths of all fatal truck accidents in 2017 had “collision with vehicle in transport” listed as the first harmful event.
Vehicle factors, such as tire blowouts, caused 5% of fatal large truck accidents in 2017. Another 5% involved truck drivers who tested positive for drugs. At least one truck-driver related factor caused 32% of large truck accidents in 2017, with speeding listed as the most common infraction and distracted driving as the second. When a truck company or its driver causes an accident, the company could be liable for victims’ damages.