Last year, commercial trucking fatalities reached its highest level in 29 years, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data — and statistics show that about 500,000 accidents on the road are caused by commercial trucks.
This does not have to be the case. Commercial truck driving can be extremely safe if the right person is driving.
As commercial truck drivers, it’s of the utmost importance to not only be responsible, but to also be highly aware of these common causes of commercial truck accidents in order to avoid them yourself, and to be aware on the road.
Here are the other top causes of commercial truck accidents on the road.
Fatigue is the most common cause of commercial truck accidents, which is unfortunate, because it’s so easy to avoid getting into an accident this way. All you have to do is stop driving when you start getting sleepy. That’s it, folks.
Truck drivers typically drive very long distances for hours and hours, with very little sleep in between. This comes from strict deadlines from the trucker’s company to get goods delivered on time.
This can be taken care of with proper scheduling and common sense. If any truck driver ever feels as though they’re doing their best and they are still being pushed too hard, they need to bring this up with their company.
Trust us, pushing yourself too hard and falling asleep at the wheel will make a company much more upset than asking for a later deadline will.
When you become a truck driver, you need to make a promise to yourself that you will never, ever drive while intoxicated. Never try to get away with it.
This can mean anything from having one too many beers to taking a prescription medication that makes you too cloudy-headed.
There are DOT programs in place to keep truck drivers compliant, but this still seems to be a big problem. Thousands of truckers have been found guilty of using alcohol and drugs while on the job, which has impaired their driving and caused commercial truck accidents.
If you’re a truck driver, be smart. Don’t drive while intoxicated with anything that will impair your judgment and driving. If you’re taking prescription medication that makes you feel foggy, this needs to be addressed with your company.
Poor Driver Training
As a truck driving training school in Los Angeles, it is disheartening to know that so many commercial truck accidents come from poor training.
Before truckers are allowed to drive a commercial vehicle on the public roads, they must acquire a certain amount of training hours, and they must meet specific minimum requirements. However, some truck drivers weasel out of this and don’t adhere to these guidelines. The result? A poorly-trained driver with not enough experience behind the wheel of a giant commercial vehicle.
Improper Truck Maintenance
Another huge responsibility for truck drivers is to keep their rigs maintained at all times. Truckers are legally required to ensure that the trucks are in tip-top shape before beginning their trip.
Unfortunately, many truck drivers get lazy and don’t want to take the time to do their routine checks. This goes especially for owner-operators who don’t have to turn in maintenance logs to a company every week.
Poorly-maintained vehicles is one of the biggest culprits of commercial truck accidents. Don’t get lazy. Maintain your truck, keep a record of progress and issues, keep it in good shape, and be safe.
Because there can be a lot of pressure from the company to meet delivery deadlines, truck drivers often feel tempted to drive over the speed limit. Elements such as traffic and weather can add even more pressure and temptation, but it is wildly important for truck drivers to keep to the proper speed limit while on the road.
When large commercial trucks are speeding and they overtake smaller cars on the road, this can lead to serious accidents. Speeding also makes it more difficult to break at the right time or veer into another section of the road.
Be responsible. Stick to the speed limit.
One of the biggest culprits of commercial truck accidents is distracted drivers. It’s critically important to not allow anything to take your attention off the road.
This is especially difficult now that drivers have smart phones, because the urge to check a text message quickly is very tempting. However, you could cause someone their life, or even your own, just because you’re getting a little bored.
Changing the radio station is also dangerous, so avoid doing that as well. Instead listen to something long-form, such as a podcast. Or you may want to listen to Satellite radio, which doesn’t fade in and out from area to area.
It’s also a good idea to wait to eat anything until you’re not driving. This could cause an accident as well. The bottom line is: taking your eyes off the road for even a split second can mean the difference between life and death, so avoid anything that might distract you. If you need to, pull over.
As a truck driving training school in Los Angeles, we believe that there is no excuse for allowing this amount of commercial truck accidents to happen. We go to every length to ensure our truck driving students are well-trained and don’t make these mistakes. Each of these problems are easily avoidable.
If you’re interested in a truck driving career, don’t let these statistics sway you. With the right training, you will be a more careful driver than those who have come before you. Contact us to learn more about becoming a commercial truck driver.