Why Trucks Are Killing So Many Pedestrians
A Disturbing Trend Explored by Our Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
Truck accidents are common on America’s streets and highways. According the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), nearly 4,000 people were killed and about 100,000 more were injured in accidents involving trucks in 2015. About 30% of those killed were pedestrians. This means an average of 3.28 pedestrians were killed by trucks every day of the year.
So, why are trucks killing so many pedestrians? Here are seven reasons that your pedestrian accident lawyer might give you:
- Tired and Fatigued Truck Drivers
Driver fatigue is one of major causes of truck accidents. Truck drivers often drive for up to 11 hours a day, 8 hours continuously without taking a break, and up to 70 hours a week, the maximum number of hours they are allowed by the FMCSA. While they are required by law to take at least 10 hours’ break after driving for a maximum of 11 hours and at least 34 hours’ break after every 7-day period, many truck drivers do not spend the time resting or sleeping. They often drive at night and at other times when they should be sleeping or resting. Also, many drivers suffer from sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, which can cause fatigue and tiredness. Fatigued drivers tend to doze off or fall asleep while driving.
- Loneliness and Boredom
Truck drivers often have to drive through long, drab, and boring stretches of the road for many hours. Sometimes, the scenery remains unchanged for miles after miles. While their replacement sleeps in the berth, they have no one to talk to. The resulting loneliness and boredom can cause them to daydream and even doze off at the wheel. When they arrive at intersections, they often fail to give signals or see pedestrians crossing the road, or see pedestrians too late to take any appropriate actions.
- Alcohol and Substance Abuse
Substance abuse has been identified as a major problem among truck drivers. Because they work long hours and are often alone, they may resort to alcohol and drugs to deal with the stress, fatigue, and boredom. In a comprehensive study conducted in 36 countries, nearly 50% of truck drivers admitted to drinking alcohol while driving. A significant percentage were also found to use substances that cause impaired driving, such as amphetamine, marijuana, and cocaine. In 2014, alcohol and substance abuse accounted for nearly 31% (9,967 deaths) of all traffic related fatalities in the United States. Many of the fatalities were caused by intoxicated truck drivers.
- Violation of Traffic Rules
Like all drivers, truck drivers are also prone to breaking traffic rules, usually to reach their destination before the deadline but sometimes just for a little bit of excitement. Speeding is one of the main traffic rules violations associated with truck drivers. What makes speeding dangerous for trucks is that they are so large and heavy. When an unwitting pedestrian comes in the way of a speeding truck, the driver is unable brake quickly enough to avoid hitting him.
- Overloaded Trailers
While it is against the law to overload the trailer, or force the driver to do so, trucking companies still overload the trailer whenever they can to maximize profits. An overloaded trailer puts added strain on the wheels and other parts, making it harder for the driver to control the truck. Overloading can cause the truck’s wheels to blow up or even cause the trailer to tip, potentially producing catastrophic results.
- Improper Inspection and Maintenance
Regular inspection and maintenance is of vital importance to trucks. Properly performed inspection and maintenance can help identify unsafe conditions and mechanical problems before they contribute to an accident. Generally, trucking companies are very particular about repair and maintenance. However, some trucking companies and drivers may neglect to perform regular inspection and maintenance either because of negligence or to cut costs.
- Rise in ‘Distracted Walking’
Truck drivers are not the only ones who are to blame when an accident occurs. Almost all pedestrians are busy with their mobiles while they are walking – texting, talking, reading or watching videos. Distracted walkers often fail to see vehicles coming their way to see traffic and vehicle signals.
Consult a Knowledgeable Pedestrian Accident Lawyer
Have you or any of you loved ones been injured by a truck or suffered damages? Get in touch with a reputed pedestrian accident lawyer as soon as you can.
Our lawyers have decades of experience in providing excellent results in these areas of practice.