If you’ve recently driven down a major highway in this country, you know that these modern thoroughfares are crowded and often dangerous. Accidents that happen on a daily basis are a serious concern, affecting many drivers and passengers on our nation’s roads. When accidents involve big rigs or 18-wheelers as they are known, the results are even more serious – and often deadly. The dedicated truck accident lawyers who regularly deal with these incidents have found that many of big truck accidents can be prevented.

Trucking Accidents Facts

To better understand and reduce the number of accidents involving 18-wheelers and other commercial trucks, all drivers should know a few basic facts:

  • In 2012 according to NHTSA statistical information, 3,921 people died and more than 104,000 individuals were injured in accidents involving big trucks. This was an 18% increase from 2011 for injuries and a 4% increase in fatalities.

  • According to 2012 NHTSA statistics, Texas had the most large truck accident fatalities of 543. This figure accounted for 14.3% of the total nationwide for large trucks.

  • Also according to 2012 NHTSA statistics, 11.8 percent of the fatal crashes in Texas involved bigger commercial trucks.

Interestingly enough, the above figures from NHTSA also revealed that 81% of large truck accidents involved multiple vehicles (81%) while only 58% of passenger vehicle accidents involved multiple vehicles. These basic facts show the potential dangers associated with trucks on busy highways. The advice of truck accident lawyers is that awareness by all drivers is essential to prevent injury and fatality accidents.

Truck Accident Causes

Following are some of the most common causes of accidents that have been observed by truck accident lawyers occurring with big trucks:

  • Driver Fatigue – Truck driving can be an exhausting profession. Big rigs can be difficult to handle and fatigue is common among drivers – and has been found to be a major cause of accidents. Fatigue can result from lack of sleep, prescription medication side-effects, and even alcohol consumption.

  • Scheduling and Compensation – While there are rules to prevent drivers from driving more than a certain number of hours during a given time period, it isn’t a ‘cure-all’ to keep drivers from suffering fatigue. Companies that pay drivers based on a tight schedule or offer bonuses based on exemplary ahead-of-schedule delivery encourage operators to skip much-needed sleep, drive faster than normal, and practice other unsafe behavior, all in an effort to deliver a load and receive a bonus.

  • Deadly Blind Spots – There are four large blind spots around every 18-wheeler, areas where the driver cannot see other vehicles in close proximity. It is critical for other drivers to know where these zones are – and avoid them. Drivers of other vehicles as responsible for staying out of a truck’s blind spots as are truck drivers in trying to detect the presence of other vehicles in these dangerous area.

  • Driving Conditions – Even under the best conditions, big rigs can be hard to handle. When things like icy roads, heavy rain or wind, curvy roads, road construction. or other poor driving conditions become a factor, it makes driving even more difficult and increases the likelihood of accidents.

  • Vehicle Maintenance – With tires at the top of the list, inadequate truck maintenance is responsible for many trucking accidents every year. Most of these accidents can be prevented with regular maintenance. Tires should be replaced as necessary and good records should be kept to track maintenance and predict potential problems.

Reducing risk of fatalities and injuries associated with big truck highway accidents can be simple; it just requires knowledge and compliance. Yet, accidents with big commercial trucks happen. Anyone who has been involved in an accident with a big rig should seek legal advice from attorneys who can prepare an injury or property claim for settlement. Handling such detailed work is best left in the hands of knowledgeable and dedicated truck accident lawyers.