Collisions involving large trucks and buses cause thousands of fatalities, injuries in the tens of thousands and millions of dollars in property damage, according to statistics from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). In 2014 alone, there were approximately 472,000 nonfatal police-reported crashes and 3,649 fatal crashes, involving at least one large truck or bus, throughout the United States. While it is commonly assumed that truck drivers are always at fault for trucking accidents, the Department of Transportation (DoT) reports that in 60% of all truck crashes, there was no driver error.
Statistically, large trucks are actually involved in fewer accidents than any other type of vehicle. However, any damage to a large truck, regardless of who is at fault, is likely to be very costly for the driver or their employer. To help protect against financial loss from large truck damage, carriers can invest in a comprehensive commercial auto physical damage program. In addition, it’s important to be aware of the most common causes of damage to trucks to help drivers and their employers avoid as many of these costly accidents as possible. Listed below are some of the most common causes of large truck accidents and damage.
Hazardous Driving Conditions
A number of weather and road hazards can create hazardous driving conditions for truck drivers as well as the other motorists around them.
- Rain, dust storms, wind, fog, and extreme glare can reduce visibility for drivers and can skew reaction time to obstacles in the road.
- Poorly maintained roads that are uneven, bumpy or otherwise damaged roads can cause tire failure or lead drivers to shift into the wrong lane unexpectedly.
- Debris in the road can also cause tire failure, leading to vehicles to slowing suddenly, spinning or sliding out of control unexpectedly, not giving truck drivers ample time to respond accordingly.
- Unsafe driving practices from other drivers such as weaving in and out heavy traffic or rubbernecking around other car accidents can make it difficult for truck drivers to predict how to respond.
It’s crucial for truck drivers to perform an inspection on their truck prior to each trip to make sure all equipment and safety features are in proper working order. There are variety of things that can go wrong on the road that can damage a truck or cause an accident. Below are some of the most common types of equipment failure for large trucks.
- Brake failure
- Tire blowouts
- Loose wheels or lug nuts
- Steering problems
- Suspension failure
- Trailer detachment
Shifting cargo, overloaded trailers or faulty cargo tie-downs are common cargo-related accident causes. Heavy braking or sharp turning combined with an unbalanced or unsecured cargo load can cause a truck to lose control, jackknife, or even roll over.
Distracted driving, whether done by a truck driver or a passenger vehicle driver, is a major cause of truck accidents. Distracted drivers of passenger vehicles tend to make unpredictable moves such as sudden unsafe lane changes, slamming on the brakes and weaving into adjacent lanes. Distracted truck drivers can be especially hazardous, as they usually don’t have enough time to react to what’s going on around them. Not only do these actions endanger the driver, they also put everyone on the road around them at risk.
About American Team Managers Insurance Services
Founded in 1998 by Chris C. Michaels, American Team Managers Insurance Services (ATM) has provided wholesale and MGA services to more than 5,000 independent insurance agents throughout the United States. Our goal is to establish close, long-term relationships with our agency partners and insurance carriers and provide competitive products for the Exclusive and Non-Exclusive markets that we serve. For more information on our products and services, give us a call at (714) 414-1200 to speak to a representative.