Contact Government AgenciesFederal and state regulations require that a certified truck inspector (usually a member of the reconstruction division of the state police) inspect any commercial truck and trailer involved in an accident before it is removed from the scene. This report reveals the condition of all of the important mechanical parts of the truck and trailer. These reports are not part of local police report. Instead, they must be obtained from the appropriate government agency. Preserve Data From High Tech Devices
When a plane crashes, the first thing officials recover is the "black box" -- a device that records data that assists with the investigation. The trucking industry is now using devices similar to black boxes that record all sorts of information, including how fast the truck was going, patterns of speed, when the driver used his or her breaks -- and even how long the driver had been on the road.
Many of these devices are also used in the automotive industry, such as on-board computers and global positioning systems (GPS). Others are specific to the trucking industry such as inclinometers, which are devices that provide information about the angles of a slope and how to round corners safely.
If you are in a trucking accident, it is critical that you make sure data from high tech equipment is preserved. Otherwise, it might be erased as part of the regular routine of the company.
The most common causes of truck accidents are driver error prior to and during the trip, mechanical failures, weather conditions, road design, and traffic signal failures.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Driver ErrorThe most common cause of trucking accidents is driver error. In fact, drivers of large trucks are ten times more likely to be the cause of the crash than other factors, such as weather, road conditions, and vehicle performance, according to a recent study released by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The FMCSA found that the action or inaction by drivers was the critical reason for 88 percent of crashes.
Factors such as the use of prescription and over-the-counter drugs, speeding, fatigue, inattention, distractions, work environment, and unfamiliarity with the road all can contribute to driver error. But by far the most common causes of trucking accidents are driver fatigue and sleep deprivation.
The next most common cause of truck accidents is equipment failure. This can include manufacturing mistakes (defective tires) or design errors (failure to provide backing warning or object detection systems). However, most mechanical causes of truck accidents are caused by a failure to properly maintain the equipment.
Some examples include:
- removing or depowering the front brakes, which can cause a truck to jackknife
- brake failure due to inadequate adjustments
- tire blowouts due to wear
- improper securing or load distribution, contributing to truck rollover
- defective steering
- improper trailer attachment
- defective side or rear lighting, and
- transmission failure.