Commercial trucks play a vital role in our economy, transporting goods across the nation. However, with the increasing number of commercial vehicles on the roads, the risk of accidents caused by distractions has become a growing concern. Trucking accidents often involve devastating consequences, which can quickly turn the lives of victims and their families upside down. As a result, it is crucial to understand the common causes of trucking accidents to prevent them from occurring and to ensure that victims receive proper compensation if they are injured.
In this blog, our Texas Truck Accident Attorneys will delve into the common distractions faced by commercial vehicle drivers, shedding light on the risks and implications for road safety.
Common Causes of Trucking Accidents — Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is a serious issue, and commercial vehicle drivers are not immune to its effects. A momentary distraction can lead to catastrophic accidents, impacting not only the driver but also other road users. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2021, distracted driving claimed 3,331 lives in the United States.
In our experience, distractions are a leading cause of trucking accidents, putting the safety of all road users at risk. As a professional driver, the responsibility of operating a large commercial vehicle requires full concentration and awareness at all times. Unfortunately, distractions can come in many forms, including:
Cell Phones: The Leading Culprit
Among the various distractions faced by commercial vehicle drivers, cell phones stand out as the leading cause. The allure of text messages, phone calls, and social media notifications can be particularly tempting, leading drivers to take their eyes off the road.
Data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) reveals that 10% of commercial vehicle accidents involve the use of cell phones while driving. Additionally, a study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that drivers who use cell phones are four times more likely to be involved in a crash.
Even commercial vehicle drivers who engage in hands-free cell phone use are not free from distractions. This comes from what the National Safety Council has termed “inattention blindness.” Drivers, especially commercial vehicle drivers, when using handheld and even hands-free cell phones tend to look at but not see objects on the road. It is estimated that drivers using a cell phone in any capacity may fail to see up to 50% of the information in their driving environment! A commercial vehicle driver only seeing 50% of his surroundings, coupled with driving a massive truck, is a recipe for disaster.
In-Cab Technology and Infotainment Systems
Modern commercial trucks are equipped with advanced technology and infotainment systems to enhance driver comfort and convenience. However, these systems can also serve as major distractions. From adjusting GPS settings to controlling music or temperature, interacting with in-cab technology diverts a driver’s attention from the road.
A study by the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) found that in-cab technology distractions were responsible for 8% of commercial vehicle accidents in 2022.
Eating and Drinking
Long hours on the road often lead drivers to multitask, including eating and drinking while driving. Unfortunately, according to the National Safety Council, multitasking is a myth. Rather than performing two tasks simultaneously, the brain is switching its attention between two tasks rapidly, leading us to believe that we are handling both. While grabbing a bite or taking a sip may seem like routine activities, they can significantly impair a driver’s ability to respond promptly to sudden changes on the road. As the attention diverts to unwrapping a meal, reaching for a drink, or handling utensils, the crucial focus on the road diminishes, leading to dangerous distractions. This lack of focus can cause delayed reactions to hazards, reduced situational awareness, and compromised judgment – all of which are essential for safe driving.
The National Safety Council (NSC) reports that eating or drinking while driving increases the likelihood of an accident by 39%.
Fatigue and Drowsiness
Commercial drivers often drive for hours upon hours, pushing the limits when it comes to delivering their scheduled loads. These long work days that stretch into the night mean drivers are often fatigued and prone to drowsiness while driving. This reduced level of alertness can be just as dangerous as any other distraction. In fact, more than 40% of drivers have admitted to falling asleep behind the wheel, and according to a report by the Federal Carrier Safety Administration (FCSA), driver fatigue is a contributing factor in approximately 13% of commercial vehicle accidents. It’s no surprise that driving while drowsy can be a fatal decision.
The Importance of Hiring a Texas Trucking Accident Attorney
In many truck accident cases, distracted driving is found to be the leading cause of the collision. This dangerous behavior diverts the driver’s attention from the road, leading to catastrophic consequences on highways and city streets alike. Given the intricate nature of these accidents, enlisting the services of an experienced trucking accident attorney becomes paramount. They possess the knowledge and resources to quickly and thoroughly investigate the incident, uncovering critical evidence that can establish liability and support the claim for fair compensation for victims’ injuries, lost wages, and pain and suffering. With their expertise, victims can rest assured that the responsible parties will be held accountable for their actions, ensuring justice and a path to recovery.
If You’ve Suffered in a Truck Accident, Call The Law Offices of Tim O’Hare
If you or a loved one has been injured in a commercial vehicle accident due to driver distraction, it’s essential to seek legal assistance from a reputable personal injury law firm. An experienced attorney can help you understand your rights and pursue fair compensation for the damages incurred. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the Law Offices of Tim O’Hare for guidance. Remember, safety on the road is everyone’s responsibility, and by working together, we can reduce accidents and save lives.