A tractor trailer can weigh as much as 80,000 pounds – that’s about 20 times more than an average passenger vehicle. There are also multiple blind spots from the truck driver’s perspective. Driving a semi-truck is therefore a huge responsibility, and a driver who behaves inappropriately on the road substantially increases the risk of a crash. Below are three truck driver behaviors commonly associated with accidents.
Distracted driving refers to any activity that diverts a person’s attention away from the task of driving – eating and drinking, using a GPS, cell phone or other device, grooming, and many other tasks.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has identified three main types of distraction: visual, manual, and cognitive. While there are many distractions that can lead to truck accidents, text messaging is particularly dangerous because it requires a person’s visual, manual, and cognitive attention. Even just a moment of inattention from the road puts the truck and nearby motorists in danger.
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Truck drivers who continue to work long hours are at an increased risk for developing chronic fatigue. Likewise, their chances of being involved in a crash increase. Truck driver fatigue is so dangerous, in fact, that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration announced new federal regulations in 2013 to improve safety by reducing truck driver fatigue.
The changes to federal regulations came on the heels of research that found fatigue slows reaction times and decreases a driver’s ability to quickly assess a situation. As many people are unable to appropriately assess their own level of fatigue and recognize degraded performance, truck driver fatigue can have deadly consequences.
Truck drivers endanger the health and safety of themselves and others on the roads when they drink alcohol and take drugs on the job. A study analyzed the frequency of truck drivers’ use of both legal and illegal “psychoactive” substances like alcohol, marijuana, and amphetamines.
A combination of driver reports and drug testing in the study revealed the overall use of these substances is high. While the study noted that alcohol and marijuana can increase fatigue and decrease concentration, stimulants like amphetamines and cocaine can change driver perceptions and cause vertigo, agitation, and even hallucinations.
Most semi-truck drivers practice due diligence in preventing crashes. However, those who drive carelessly endanger innocent lives.
If you or a loved one was injured in a crash involving a tractor trailer, the Pennsylvania semi-truck accident attorneys at Ostroff Injury Law can investigate the accident and obtain the compensation you need for your injuries. Contact our firm to schedule a free consultation.