The trucking industry is a vital component of the U.S. economy. Without trucks providing services and shipping goods across our nation’s highways, there is no other current transportation infrastructure that could replace them. There is an element of risk in every trip a truck driver makes, however.
With 37.9 million registered trucks in the United States and 3.5 million truck drivers, there are more trucks on the road than ever before. Truckers cover over 300 billion miles each year. Along their path, 4,000 people die and 130,000 suffer often catastrophic injuries in truck accidents.
Discovering the causes of truck accidents can alert drivers in North Carolina and elsewhere to exercise caution when sharing the road with one. Residents of Fayetteville and surrounding areas who have suffered serious injury or loss need to act quickly to recover damages from a truck accident, especially if negligence was a factor.
Risk factors in truck accidents
In a traffic accident involving a truck, it is the driver of the smaller vehicle who suffers the most. A fully loaded semitrailer can way up to 80,000 pounds, in contrast to 6,000 pounds for the average passenger car. So, when there is a collision, the worst injuries will occur to the driver of the smaller vehicle.
The three top causes of driver-related truck accidents are:
- Driver distraction
Surprisingly, it is the drivers of passenger vehicles who may contribute to 91% of all truck accidents. Speeding factors into more accidents overall than any other single cause, but it is more often the erratic or aggressive behavior of the smaller vehicle that contributes to a truck accident. Trucks take longer to respond, need much more time to slow down and are prone to jackknifing or loss of control.
When truckers or trucking companies are at fault, the main reasons are:
- Mechanical malfunction: negligent maintenance, such as failing brakes, tires that burst and uneven cargo loads.
- Speeding: a factor in 14% of light truck accidents and 7% of large truck accidents.
- Driver fatigue or impairment: as much as 13% of accidents occur when the driver falls asleep while driving.
Truck accidents in North Carolina
Although a truck driver may contribute to an accident involving a car, 91% of the time it is due to the actions of the driver of the other vehicle, either from straying into oncoming traffic in a head-on collision or driving aggressively around trucks. A recent campaign to highlight speeding as a major cause in North Carolina will hopefully shine a spotlight on the preventable tragedies occurring on our state’s roadways.