Reckless driving, speeding, driving while fatigued, and other unsafe practices by commercial motor vehicle operators put motorists at risk of serious injury or death. Commercial truck drivers who negligently place others at risk through their behaviors behind the wheel are liable for the personal injuries and wrongful deaths they cause.
Dangerous Behaviors Behind the Wheel
Speeding has long been a cause of commercial motor vehicle accidents. Drivers eager to meet deadlines and companies that push their drivers into tighter and tighter schedules create a significant hazard. Speeding drivers can easily misjudge the speed of other vehicles, miscalculate safe turning and stopping speeds, and can quickly lose control over their vehicle and rollover while maneuvering down highways or city streets.
Driver fatigue is a growing cause for concern. This is especially true right now when the FMCSA has relaxed hours-of-service rules for drivers delivering COVID-19 related supplies. Fatigue impairs judgment and increases the influence of distractions both inside and outside the vehicle. Studies have shown that fatigued drivers are equally as impaired as drivers who operate a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol.
Improper loading causes numerous large truck accidents each year. Commercial motor vehicle operators are responsible for ensuring that all cargo is properly secured and evenly loaded onto the trailer. When cargo is improperly loaded, it increases the risk of tire blowouts, can facilitate brake failure, and can cause the vehicle to become unstable as the center of gravity shifts.
Some dangerous driving behaviors start before the driver ever gets behind the wheel. Studies by the FMCSA and NHTSA have established that a significant number of commercial motor vehicles are poorly maintained. This includes failure to replace worn and damaged brake pads, driving with insufficient tread on the tires, etc. These negligent behaviors can make the vehicle unsafe and can result in sudden loss of control.
Finally, a growing cause for concern is the significant shortage of commercial motor vehicle drivers. As older drivers retire, many new drivers are filling their place without adequate training or experience. Inexperienced drivers are prone to distractions, are more likely to drive while fatigued, may not recognize potential mechanical failures, and may not have the skill to safely handle the vehicle in inclement weather conditions. The less experienced the driver, the greater the possibility they will cause an accident that results in severe personal injuries or loss of life.