Driver Error: A Leading Cause of Truck Accidents

January 19th, 2017 by Patrick Hogan

Although mechanical failure of big rigs causes trucking accidents, most are caused by driver error. Driver error happens for a number of reasons. It starts with truck carrier companies failing to do comprehensive background checks on new truck driver hires, and failing to give adequate road tests as a condition for employment.

This allows drivers with poor driving records to share the road with the general public. Of course, one practice that is impossible to avoid is hiring inexperienced drivers. They fill the gaps created when highly experienced drivers retire. Unfortunately, inexperienced drivers are difficult to screen because of their lack of a truck driving record. As a result, our roads are filled with drivers prone to making many kinds of errors. Here are three of them:

Distraction

A driving distraction is any activity that takes the trucker’s mind off her driving, or her eyes off the road, or takes one or both of her hands away from controlling the vehicle. Therefore, daydreaming, eating, cell phone use (including hands free), and “rubbernecking” traffic accidents are driving distractions. Some navigational devices requiring programming and viewing of detailed maps also distract the driver from her primary task.

Improper Use of GPS

Truck drivers commonly use GPS as navigational aids. Unfortunately, they often use GPS devices intended for the general public. These fail to take into account the semi truck’s height and weight, with the result that trucks attempt to drive under overpasses with inadequate clearance, or cross bridges that can’t safely accommodate the semi rig’s weight. Truck drivers opt for these inadequate GPS devices because commercial truck specific GPS is more costly.

Poor Judgment

Semi trucks are massive and top-heavy. Their tractor-trailer configuration also makes them unwieldy. Their safe driving demands sound judgment that take these limitations into account. Following distances must take road conditions into account as well as the weight of the truck’s load.

Avoiding rollovers demands an awareness of the load’s top-heaviness when choosing a speed to round curves on highways and exit ramps. The unwieldy tractor-trailer configuration requires an acute awareness of how swerving and braking, especially in wet road conditions, can lead to jackknifing. Finally, the semi truck’s huge blind spots demand an acute awareness of the traffic situation around the rig when changing lanes on interstates.

The above are three important types of truck driver error. While a driver of exceptional skill and judgment can often compensate for sudden mechanical breakdowns, a truck in perfect mechanical condition can never compensate for an error prone truck driver.

If you were injured in a truck accident, seek the legal advice of an experienced lawyer who can help you get the compensation you deserve for your losses and recovery. Contact us at Hogan Injury to schedule a no-cost consultation.

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