Truck accidents happen every day on our nation’s highways. Unfortunately, they cause an extreme amount of damage and many severe, life-altering injuries. There are different reasons why these accidents happen, including driver error, weather conditions, and many other causes. Of all I-45 tractor trailer accidents, as well as accidents that happen on many other highways, there are a few leading causes that all drivers should be aware of. By understanding the main reasons why tractor trailer accidents occur, it is possible to avoid being involved in one.
Driver Fatigue and Drowsiness
Of all the causes of semi truck accidents, that may or may not involve other vehicles, driver fatigue and driving while drowsy are two the main reasons causes. Driver fatigue is such a common cause that there are Federal laws in place that limit the number of hours a truck driver can operate their vehicle in any one day, as well as how many days in a row they can work without taking time off. Unfortunately, many drivers still drive beyond these limitations, putting themselves and everyone else on the road at risk.
The problem with fatigue is that when a driver is tired, their ability to make decisions is reduced, as are their observation skills, and most significantly - their reaction time. Combined, this creates a deadly condition where a driver’s actions and reactions are responsible for a high percentage of all I-45 tractor trailer accidents, as well as those that occur on other highways and roads.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), drug use ranks high as one of the main contributing factors in tractor trailer accidents. This ranking includes the use of illicit drugs, prescription medications and over the counter medications collectively. Drivers who use any substance that affects their ability to drive and react are a main cause of these accidents. In many cases, drivers will use illegal substances to try to stay awake during long drives. Drug use is also known to affect other things like decision making and reaction time. Both over the counter medications, and prescription medicines can often cause drowsiness. This means even drivers who are medicating legally can be affected by medicines that reduce their ability to properly drive their vehicles.
Truck Maintenance or Mechanical Issue
Even though there are many Federal regulations governing the required maintenance and upkeep of big rigs, many trucks on the roads are seriously lacking important maintenance. Lack of required maintenance puts every truck at greater risk for breakdown or poor reaction that can cause an accident. Similarly, mechanical concerns such as brake and tire failure are also responsible for many accident. Both of these issues, while mechanical in nature, can also be brought on by bad driving habits. Truck tires are designed to be used up to a certain speed. Speeding can cause premature failure. Depowering front brakes - a practice that is illegal, yet common among truckers - often increases the chance of failure of the other brakes on a truck when they face too much load.
There are many different causes of I-45 tractor trailer accidents, but of all truck accidents, the three causes referenced above are the most common. While there is not much the average passenger vehicle driver can do about these causes, it is important for them to understand how trucking accidents happen, and drive defensively. Taking steps to prevent being involved in an accident caused by someone else’s mistake is the best way any driver can protect themselves!
Pearland, Pasadena, Webster, League City, Webser, Manvel, Alvin, Friendswood, La Marque, Texas City, and Galveston
Hildebrand & Wilson, LLP
Robert W. Hildebrand, Attorney at Law
J. Daniel Wilson, Attorney at Law
7830 Broadway, Suite 122
Pearland TX 77581
Phone: (281) 408-2190