Driving a large truck in the United States is becoming increasingly dangerous. In 2019, America saw its largest number of truck fatalities in 30 years, and the number of accidents involving large trucks is also consistently increasing. A truck is considered to be a “tractor trailer” if it weighs more than 10,000 pounds. That can include large pick-up trucks, delivery trucks, cargo trucks, or any other vehicle used for commercial purposes. Because these vehicles are so large and heavy, it takes extensive training for a person to legally operate them. The size and weight of these trucks also increases the likelihood that the damage from accidents will be more severe. This puts truck drivers, as well as drivers of other cars on the road, at high risk. It is crucial to understand the methods of preventing, or decreasing, the number of truck accident fatalities.
Safety Measures for Truck Drivers
Truck driving is a difficult, high-stress occupation that combines time-constrained schedules with driving over long distances. Truck drivers can easily become distracted over these long hours. Whether it is checking their phones, eating, drinking, or other distracting tasks, some drivers tend to focus on these tasks more than the road. As a result, they might miss a smaller car driving next to them, thereby causing an accident. When truckers take more sanctioned breaks, or extend their usual breaks to properly attend to any of these distractions, it allows them to focus more on the road when they are behind the wheel.
Additionally, drivers must stay on schedule, as there is always an expected time of arrival for the cargo they are transporting. In many instances, truck drivers will be behind schedule for reasons such as traffic, weather, accidents, and other factors. This might cause them to speed up in an effort to get back on schedule, risking an accident in the process.
Safety Measures for Other Motorists
Just as it is important for truck drivers to take preventive measures, it is also crucial for other vehicle operators to pay attention to the road. Many of the preventive actions that truck drivers should be taking can be applied to passenger vehicle drivers as well. For example, most truck drivers are traveling long distances on long highways or interstates, and many other vehicles driving on these roads tend to do so for multiple hours at a time. These drivers should take frequent breaks in order to conduct their business, which should minimize their risk of being distracted on the road. Additionally, drivers should avoid speeding and follow traffic regulations in order to keep the highway safe.
Employers Taking the Initiative
Trucking companies should be regularly implementing safety measures in order to decrease the number of accidents. These employers can usually track and monitor their employees, including how fast they are going, which can help curb the desire to drive recklessly. Allowing more breaks on the road, as well, can limit distracted driving. Employers can even recommend further training for their employees in order to enforce the importance of safety.
The Safe Manufacture of Trucks
Some accidents are the result of a malfunctioning part, such as the brake, steering wheel, or a hitch. It is critical that truck manufacturers equip their vehicles with more safety measures and ensure that all of its components are produced properly. It is also the responsibility of employers to have their vehicles consistently inspected for needed repairs.
With the number of truck accidents increasing on American roads, the blame is often directed at the truck operators themselves. While a driver is often negligent, there can be liability attached to multiple parties. Between the truck drivers, their employers, the vehicle manufacturers, as well as other motorists, everyone needs to take better preventative actions and be more cautious in order to make our roads and highways safer to travel.