COMMON CAUSES OF CHICAGO TRACTOR-TRAILER ACCIDENTS
The reasons for tractor-trailer accidents vary by circumstance, but there are some fairly common reasons why accidents occur. Some include:
Driver negligence. According to the American Trucking Association, there is a nationwide shortage of drivers on the road. That doesn’t mean that there is any less demand for goods to be transported, however. That means drivers will often log more hours on the road than they are legally allowed, leading to both driver fatigue and inattentive driving. Experts estimate that driver fatigue could account for nearly half of all accidents involving a tractor-trailer. Drivers may also use drugs or alcohol while driving, which has been shown to be one of the leading factors relating to tractor-trailer accidents.
Negligence on the part of the trucking company. Despite regulations controlling the number of hours a driver must log as training time, many companies send inexperienced drivers out or fail to fully vet new hires, putting others on the road at risk.
Violations of laws. Many trucking companies hire drivers who don’t have a valid commercial driver’s license (CDL) or many drivers keep two sets of log books – one with their actual hours, another to show officials at weigh stations – in order to bypass federal restrictions on the amount of time they are allowed to be on the road without a break.
Failure to do proper maintenance. Trucking companies are required to ensure that their semis are safe on the road, but faulty brakes, loads that are too heavy, improperly installed or inadequate safety equipment and other negligent maintenance issues may all potentially lead to a crash.
Speeding. Drivers are likely to speed in order to meet tight delivery deadlines, which makes it more difficult for drivers to control their vehicles. Speeding is particularly dangerous in certain weather conditions or driving through mountain terrain.
Weight and loading issues. There are reasons why weigh stations pepper America’s highways. Drivers travel under specific regulations regarding not only load weight limits, but also how cargo is loaded on a trailer. Improperly loaded trucks or trucks carrying too much weight are more likely to suffer brake failures, rollovers, jack-knife incidents or tire blowouts, all of which present very real dangers for others on the road.
Aggressive driving. Many drivers are in such a hurry to get where they are going that they fail to recognize the dangers of driving on the road with a tractor-trailer. It’s important to remember that if you are behind a tractor-trailer and you cannot see their side mirror, they cannot see you. Also, be sure to give a driver plenty of room if you are ahead of a truck and are stopping to turn, because they need extra time to stop without rear-ending you or jack-knifing, which puts not only you, but also others on the road in danger.