Every year in New Jersey, more people are injured and killed in motor vehicle accidents involving large commercial trucks. While trucks are an essential part of the nation’s infrastructure, they also pose a lot of risk to people sharing the road with them. Here are some of the most common causes of truck accidents.
Truck drivers work long hours with few breaks, so it’s no surprise that many truck accidents are caused by driver fatigue. According to one federal study, truck drivers average just 4.8 hours of sleep each workday. That means that most drivers are awake for more than 18 hours straight, which is similar to being under the influence of alcohol.
Distraction is a huge problem for all drivers, but it can have deadly consequences when a 40-ton truck is involved. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, distracted driving contributed to 71% of truck crashes in 2009. Typical distracted truck driving behaviors include:
- Reading a map
- Using a dispatch device
- Looking at billboards
Work zones have a lot of inherent dangers such as sudden changes in traffic speed, narrow roadways and outside distractions. The majority of motor vehicle accidents in work zones are rear-end collisions, and almost 30% of work zone accidents involve commercial trucks. One of the reasons trucks are so dangerous in work zones is that they require a much greater stopping distance than other cars.
In 2017, 60% of commercial truck drivers who were involved in fatal accidents were not tested for drugs. Despite the missing data, 5% of truck drivers in fatal wrecks were found to be under the influence of one or more drugs. The most common types of drugs found in truck drivers’ systems were stimulants.
Proving that a truck driver was at fault for an accident
When someone is injured because of a truck driver’s negligence, the truck driver and the truck driver’s employer might be sued for compensation. To be successful in their claim, the injured party must prove that the truck driver’s action or inaction caused the accident.