Avoiding Heavy Vehicle Accidents – Transport Safety and Liability

Heavy vehicle collisions account for a smaller number of road accidents compared to light passenger vehicles, however the resulting costs and risks to safety are greater.

While an impact may sometimes be unavoidable, there are a number of steps we can take to keep safe on the road and avoid financial setbacks.

Safety on the Road

The risk of being involved in a truck accident and the severity of an incident involves many factors. Prioritizing safety can help reduce a significant amount of these collisions.

Consider the following: the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) conducted a 33 month study and estimated that 120,000 crashes involved a truck accident with fatalities or injuries.  An assessment of 963 of these vehicle crashes showed that there were three common determinants: driving over lane boundaries, losing control of the vehicle and rear-ending vehicles.

Driver error causes more accidents than any other variable.  When you consider that truck companies are understaffed due to increasing supply and demand, truck drivers have to compensate by working long hours with relentless deadlines. The result is driver fatigue, stress and impaired judgement on the road.

Due to staffing shortages, companies are under pressure to fill employment gaps.  As a result, younger truck drivers who lack a lot of experience, are hired for the positions.  The FMCSA is currently investigating training and qualification processes which will help to highlight essential requirements for truck driver positions. This will help improve the quality of drivers and reduce accidents through incompetence or driver error.

According to findings by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 55 percent of truck accidents involving an injury result from a mechanical failure and 30 percent of these vehicle crashes involved an out of service component. Break failures tend to be the most common issue with 29% of all accidents resulting from problems with breaks. Due to mechanical issues being so prevalent, the FMCSA has established that vehicles must undergo both pre-trip inspections, yearly checks and regular maintenance.

Seeing as human error accounts for a large portion of truck accidents besides mechanical failures, how can we avoid getting ourselves into trouble? Let’s take a look at these common factors and how we can reduce the risk of an accident.

 

Driving Over Lane Boundaries:

Keep a safe distance, avoid being in a vehicle’s path and be wary of blind spots. If you need to pass, make sure you have enough space before attempting to pass and give large vehicles enough space to pass if they need to.

 

Loss of Vehicle Control:

While some of this is attributed to weather or mechanical failure, driving to the weather conditions plus maintaining a safe speed and distance around heavy vehicles will go a long way towards reducing the severity of an impact.

 

Rear-ending:

Large vehicles have much more momentum from the weight that they carry so they need a lot more space for breaking.  Always allow plenty of space if you want to pass and consider how you break in front of a heavy vehicle.

To summarise, use basic common sense on the road: keep a safe distance, safe speed, drive to the conditions, be wary of the vehicle’s path and avoid blind spots.

 

Cost and Liability

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has determined that accidents cost employers $60 billion annually whilst many of these crashes can be prevented. It costs an employer up to $16,500 for a regular crash, up to $74,000 for injury related crashes and upwards of $500,000 for those involving fatalities.

Accident costs result from productivity loss, property damage, medical costs and compensation.  Furthermore a lengthy investigation process is often required for commercial truck accidents, which may require a lot of time and resources.

It’s important to seek legal help when involved in a truck accident to ensure you are properly represented and have the best advice for your situation. This will help guard you from potential costs and unnecessary stress down the road.

Conclusion

Being extra diligent around heavy vehicles and applying safe practices when sharing the road will help you avoid risks to your health and financial wellbeing.  At the end of the day sometimes a crash is unavoidable so if you are involved in an accident, it’s important to get legal help as soon as possible to rule out liability.

We can help make our roads better for everyone and save lives just by simply sharing road space carefully. Let’s all work together to help everyone get home safely.

 

Sources:
Kaufman & McPherson – Truck accident attorneys

 

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