Trucking accidents in St. Louis can have devastating consequences for victims, ranging from serious injuries to property damage. Therefore, identifying the common causes of these accidents is crucial in understanding liability and seeking compensation.
This article will explore six common causes of trucking accidents in St. Louis, including driver fatigue, speeding, improper maintenance, distracted driving, and more.
1. Distracted Driving
Truck drivers, like all motorists, can become distracted by various factors, such as using their phones, eating, adjusting the radio, or engaging in other non-driving related activities while behind the wheel. However, due to the size and weight of commercial trucks, the consequences of distracted driving can be particularly severe.
Truck drivers are often under pressure to meet tight deadlines, which can lead to distractions while driving. Additionally, long hours on the road and monotonous stretches of highway can increase the risk of truck drivers engaging in distracting behaviors.
When truck drivers take their eyes off the road or hands off the wheel, even briefly, it can result in catastrophic accidents, including rear-end collisions, lane departures, and rollovers.
2. Fatigued Driving
Fatigued driving can impair a truck driver’s ability to react quickly, make sound judgments, and stay alert, resulting in devastating accidents. In addition, a truck driver operating a commercial vehicle while fatigued can exhibit similar behaviors to those of an intoxicated driver, such as drifting into other lanes and falling asleep at the wheel.
These actions can lead to severe collisions with other vehicles, pedestrians, or property, causing catastrophic injuries and damages.
If you have been involved in a trucking accident in St. Louis caused by fatigued driving, it is crucial to seek the assistance of an experienced St. Louis trucking accident lawyer in the location. A skilled lawyer can help you build a strong case by investigating the circumstances leading to the accident, collecting evidence, and advocating for your rights.
As per TorHoerman Law LLC, a truck’s weight can be 25 to 80 times greater than a regular passenger car. Therefore, even a minor collision with a vehicle can cause severe injuries. In addition, due to their massive size and weight, semi-trucks are tough to handle, increasing the likelihood of severe accidents. It can also contribute to the driver’s exhaustion and cause truck accidents.
The site further explains laws about trucking accidents, including regulations governing service hours for commercial truck drivers. These regulations limit the number of hours a truck driver can operate their vehicle without taking adequate rest breaks.
3. Improper Maintenance and Inspections
Commercial trucks require regular inspections, maintenance, and repairs to ensure their safe operation on the road. However, negligent maintenance practices, such as skipping inspections, failing to address known issues, or inadequate repairs, can result in serious accidents with devastating consequences.
Issues related to improper maintenance and inspections can include faulty brakes, worn-out tires, malfunctioning lights, and faulty steering systems. Also, it may include other mechanical failures that can lead to loss of control, reduced braking efficiency, or other safety hazards.
When these issues are not addressed promptly, they can result in catastrophic accidents, including collisions, rollovers, and other types of accidents that pose serious risks to other road users.
4. Speeding and Reckless Driving
Commercial trucks are much larger and heavier than passenger vehicles. Therefore, when they are driven at excessive speeds or recklessly, the risks of accidents and their severity increase significantly.
Work zone awareness is essential, which has proved to have fatal repercussions time and again. According to the Missouri Department of Transportation, it came down to inattentive driving, which in Missouri in 2022 resulted in 411 work zone collisions and speeding, which was involved in 13% of work zone collisions. Also, 71% of vehicle occupant deaths in work zones were not wearing seat belts.
Sometimes the above happens when truck drivers may speed to meet tight delivery schedules or engage in reckless driving behaviors. These include such as aggressive lane changes, tailgating, or ignoring traffic signals in an attempt to save time.
However, these actions can lead to loss of control, increased stopping distances, and reduced reaction times, making it difficult to avoid collisions or stop in time to prevent accidents.
A skilled trucking accident lawyer can help victims of accidents caused by speeding and reckless driving build a strong case by investigating the driver’s behavior. Also, reviewing data from the truck’s black box or GPS records, obtaining witness statements, and other relevant evidence.
5. Overloaded or Improperly Loaded Cargo
Commercial trucks are designed to carry specific weights and loads safely, and when these limits are exceeded, it can result in serious accidents and devastating consequences.
Overloaded or improperly loaded cargo can affect the truck’s stability, handling, and braking, making it more challenging for the driver to maintain control of the vehicle. As a result, it can cause the truck to tip over, jackknife, or experience accidents that pose a significant risk to other road users.
Improperly secured cargo can also become a hazard if it shifts or falls off the truck during transit, leading to collisions or road debris that can cause accidents for other vehicles on the road. Cargo that is not properly loaded and secured can include unevenly distributed weight, unbalanced loads, overhanging loads, or improperly secured items, all of which can lead to accidents.
6. Inexperienced or Undertrained Drivers
Operating a commercial truck requires specialized skills and knowledge due to the complexity of these vehicles. When truck drivers lack sufficient experience or training, it can lead to serious accidents with severe consequences.
Inexperienced or undertrained drivers are mostly young drivers. According to Missouri State Highway Patrol data, in 2022, the young driver-involved crashes totaled 23677, of which 118 were fatal. In addition, the city also had 6230 personal injury crashes in total.
The data suggests they may lack the skills to handle the unique challenges of driving a large commercial truck. These may include navigating tight turns, managing blind spots, controlling speed on downhill slopes, or reacting to emergencies. They may also be unfamiliar with federal regulations, industry standards, and safe driving practices crucial for safe truck operation.
A trucking accident lawyer can assist victims of accidents caused by inexperienced or undertrained drivers by investigating the driver’s qualifications, training records, and driving history. In addition, they can review the driver’s compliance with federal regulations and assess whether the driver’s lack of experience or training contributed to the accident.
Devastating Outcomes for Victims and Their Families Can Result from Trucking Accidents
According to Enjuris, Missouri has a booming trucking industry. More than 260,000 tons of goods are transported around the state daily by more than 12,000 trucking businesses.
Missouri has fewer significant commercial truck accidents than most other states, yet there are still 1.06 fatalities for every 100 million miles of driving there, which cannot be ignored. Thus, trucking accidents in St. Louis can have devastating consequences for victims and their families.
If you have been involved in a trucking accident caused by any of these factors, it is crucial to seek the assistance of a skilled trucking accident lawyer. With their expertise, you can pursue the compensation you deserve and hold negligent parties accountable for their actions.