Commercial Truck Crashes Caused by Inattentive Truck Drivers

The federal government is poised to implement a measure designed to help prevent crashes due to dangerous, inattentive truck drivers.

The federal infrastructure law, passed in 2021, includes a provision for improving commercial trucking safety. It requires that most new large commercial trucks have automatic emergency braking systems by the end of this year.

Passenger cars have had automatic emergency braking systems (AEB) for years. AEB can help prevent fatal crashes by detecting dangers ahead and automatically stopping the vehicle when the driver fails to do so.

Distracted Or Tired Commercial Truck Drivers In Crashes

If a commercial truck driver is distracted and not paying attention to the road, the results often are catastrophic. These situations can result in fatal, multi-vehicle wrecks.

Fatigued commercial truck drivers also may be inattentive. Federal Hours of Service regulations are designed to keep tired truckers off the road. They limit how much time commercial truck drivers can drive per day and per week. The rules also have mandated rest periods.

Commercial truck drivers who ignore these rules may be dangerously tired behind the wheel. A truck driver who falls asleep potentially puts other vehicles on the road – going the same direction or oncoming – in grave jeopardy.

Other Causes Of Fatal Commercial Truck Crashes

AEB systems on commercial tractor-trailers can be life-saving. Fully loaded rigs weigh up to 80,000 pounds, much more than passenger vehicles. Accidents involving commercial trucks, therefore, have increased risk for fatalities.

According to federal data, the number of people killed in crashes with commercial trucks has climbed steadily in recent years. In addition to inattentive truck drivers, other causes for fatal truck accidents include:

• Speeding
• Drug or alcohol use
• Poorly maintained trucks

Safety groups have called for AEB on commercial trucks to prevent catastrophic truck crashes for years. One such organization, the Truck Safety Coalition, has praised the rule but claims it does not go far enough, saying more than 500,000 new, smaller commercial trucks annually will be excluded.

Commercial truck drivers who negligently take their focus off the road, drive when they are too tired and outside of federal regulations, or don’t properly maintain their vehicles should be held accountable for the lives they take and other resulting grave injuries when they cause accidents.

If you were seriously hurt or had a family member killed in a crash with a commercial truck, speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer about your legal options.

The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.

Authored by Gray Ritter Graham. Posted in Blog March 3, 2023.


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