A commercial truck may have a weight advantage of 20 to 30 times more than what a smaller passenger vehicle weighs. When a large commercial truck collides with a smaller vehicle, the occupants of the latter account for the most fatalities because the truck’s greater mass exerts more force.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety identifies factors that can contribute to truck accidents. Here are some of the most commonly reported.
According to the National Safety Council, fatigued drivers are three times more likely to get into an accident. Fatigue can affect driving ability similar to the way that alcohol can, making it more difficult to sustain attention, decreasing hazard awareness and slowing reaction times. A percentage of commercial truck drivers have admitted in surveys that they have worked long hours in violation of federal hours-of-service regulations designed to prevent accidents from driver fatigue.
2. Braking capability
Because a commercial truck is more massive than a passenger vehicle, it takes longer to come to a complete stop. The distance that a truck travels while braking may be greater than that of passenger vehicles by 40%. If the brakes have not received adequate maintenance or the road is slippery due to weather, the stopping distance may increase.
3. Traffic conditions
Statistics show that truck accidents are more likely to occur on weekdays between the hours of 6:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. There are more cars on the road at this time as people commute to work and parents transport children to and from school.
While drugs or alcohol may also be factors in truck accidents, strict regulations against drinking and driving have helped to decrease the number of fatalities with high blood alcohol concentrations among both truck drivers and passenger vehicle operators.