Car accidents happen so often that sometimes we begin to minimize the seriousness of the risk. Accidents involving two cars can be devastating, but accidents involving a semi-truck, or 18-wheeler, can be even moreso. Injuries can occur in any accident, but the severity of injury could increase with a collision with a larger truck. Obviously, the size of a semi-truck poses significant risks to other drivers on the road. However, it is not just the size of the truck that is dangerous; the materials the truck is transporting can be dangerous, as well. For example, trucks carrying gasoline, oil, or other hazardous chemicals can create additional dangers on the road. Florida highways see heavy truck traffic from one end of the state to the other. All drivers should be conscious of the dangers semi-trucks pose and how to stay safe. The National Highway Safety Administration recently published statistics on the number of crashes that involve semi-trucks. In 2016, the most recent year of published statistics, there were over 4,500 fatal crashes in the U.S., and 6% of these fatal accidents involved semi-trucks. There were thousands more accidents involving semi-trucks that resulted in serious injuries rather than fatalities. What Causes a Truck Accident? The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has taken crash statistics from numerous accidents and compiled a list of the common causes of truck accidents. The following are not the only causes of truck accidents, but more common ones that the FMCSA has identified. Overall, there are three different categories causes — environmental, mechanical, and human error.
- Environmental causes involve hazardous elements of the environment, such as incement weather conditions, that lead to an accident. Rain, snow, fog, and many other non-ideal driving situations can create hazardous road conditions and lead to an accident.
- Mechanical causes involve actual mechanical problems with the vehicles involved in the accident. Engine failure, a blown tire, electrical problems, etc. are just a few examples of things that can malfunction in a large truck. These defects are beyond the control of the driver, leading to dangeruos accidents.
- Human causes involve errors that the driver makes that causes an accident. If the truck driver is speeding, does not use a turn signal, or fails to properly check the mirrors, accidents can occur. No one is perfect, including truck drivers, and that results in accidents.
(image courtesy of Mean Shadows)