Houston Trucking Accidents Caused by Driver ErrorBy Stewart J. Guss on July 6th, 2016
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Large Truck Crash Causation Study reviewed 141,000 large truck injury and fatal crashes that occurred during the study period. Those results demonstrated that truck driver error was responsible for a majority of the accidents as follows:
Non-Performance: The driver was disabled by a coronary arrest or seizure, fell asleep, or was physically impaired for another reason. Non-performance accounted for 12% of the accidents within the large vehicle study.
Recognition: The driver was inattentive, was distracted by something inside or outside the truck or did not assess the situation sufficiently for some other reason. recognition accounted for 28% of the accidents included in the study.
Decision: The driver was driving too fast for road conditions, misjudged the speed of surrounding vehicles, or followed other vehicles too closely. Decision accounted for 28% of the accidents in the large truck study.
Performance: The driver overcompensated, panicked, or used poor control.
The national large truck crash causation study sets forth several different types of driver error that resulted in truck collisions including:
Driver Fatigue Causing Houston Trucking Accidents
Fatigue leads truck drivers to fall asleep, be inattentive, misjudge gaps, ignore the signs of impending dangers, panic, freeze, and under- or overreact to a situation. The FMCSA study provides that fatigue accounted for 13% of the collisions, including 18,000 large trucks.
Federal regulations (called the “hours of service rules”) set forth rules to ensure that truck drivers obtain the necessary rest and restorative sleep in order to drive safely. Under these rules, truck drivers can work a maximum of 14 hours per day, during which time they can only drive for a maximum of 11 hours. The driver must be off duty for 10 consecutive hours prior to the start of a shift. The driver also cannot drive after being on duty for 60 hours in seven consecutive days or 70 hours in eight consecutive days. The study by FMCSA reports that pressure to continue working from the carrier accounted for 10% of the large truck accidents involving 16,000 commercial trucks.
Drug Use by Truck Drivers Traveling Through Houston
The FMCSA study provides that truck driver’s use of illegal drugs accounted for 2% of the total accidents or 3,000 trucks, while over-the-counter drug usage accounted for 17% of the collisions or 25,000 trucks.
Drivers may not use any controlled substances unless prescribed by a licensed physician who is familiar with the driver’s medical history and assigned duties and has determined that the drug use will not adversely affect the driver’s ability to safely operate a commercial motor vehicle. Federal regulations require trucking companies to:
1) test their drivers for alcohol and drug use as a condition of employment, and
2) require periodic random tests of the drivers while they are on duty and after an accident involving a fatality.
Houston Truck Accidents Resulting from Other Causes
Although in many trucking accidents the blame is placed on the truck driver, there are a number of actions exhibited by other vehicle drivers that can result in an accident. Causes of these incidents include numerous factors such as:
- Passenger vehicle driver positions their vehicle in any one of a truck’s numerous blind spots making it impossible for the truck driver to see them.
- Improper merging, cutting trucks off and risky passing without enough room.
- Driving too close to a big truck puts other drivers at risk for an accident in the event that some kind of problem develops with the truck. An important benefit of traveling at a safe distance away from heavy trucks on the highway is drivers are also out of their way should a mechanical problem arise.
Contact an Experienced Houston Truck Crash Attorney
If you are involved in a collision with a Houston big-rig, the skilled truck accident lawyers at the Stewart Guss law firm can review the specifics of your situation and determine if truck driver error caused or contributed to your injuries and damages. To protect your rights to recovery, it is critical to have an experienced truck accident attorney handling your case. Please call our office today at 800-898-4877.