In the past two decades, the incidence of accidents involving trucks has increased by nearly 20 percent. These accidents can be more devastating than those involving other motor vehicles because of the size and weight of trucks. When such an accident involves another vehicle, that vehicle is often outmatched and serious injuries or deaths can occur as a result. In 2002, 4,897 people were killed and another 130,000 were injured in crashes with large trucks.
These accidents occur for a number of reasons. Drug use among drivers is the most common and accounts for 36 percent of all truck crashes. These drugs include both prescription as well as illegal drugs and they have the effect of slowing drivers’ reaction times and decreasing their ability to handle the demands posed by traffic hazards.
Another common cause is speeding. Studies show that 23 percent of all truck crashes are caused at least in part by a truck’s speed. The size of a truck combined with high speeds makes these vehicles especially dangerous on the road.
Due to the long distances and hours logged by truck drivers, they can often grow fatigued behind the wheel. This can cause them to fail to react properly and some drivers may even fall asleep behind the wheel, thus veering into other lanes and sometimes colliding with cars. Any time a driver is not mentally alert when driving, it can spell disaster.
Additionally, distractions can pose a risk to any type of driver, including truck drivers. These distractions may be as simple as changing the radio station or eating behind the wheel and may also include cell phone texting or talking.
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