Everyday people driving from point A to point B regularly share the streets and highways throughout Georgia and the rest of the U.S. with commercial trucks. Unfortunately, collisions involving these passenger cars and tractor-trailers are an all too common occurrence, which often lead to serious injuries or death for those involved. Numerous factors contribute to causing trucking accidents, some of which are due to the negligent or careless actions of the truck operators.
Driver drowsiness is a contributing factor in many tractor-trailer accidents. Drowsy driving is the dangerous combination of getting behind the wheel when overly tired or fatigued. While most people think of things like yawning or rubbing their eyes more frequently as the downsides of being drowsy, fatigue can also slow their responses to potential hazards, make them less attentive and impair their judgment, among other effects. These effects may compromise truckers’ ability to safely operate their vehicles.
Commercial vehicle operators and other drivers are bombarded with distractions while behind the wheel. From dispatching devices, food or drinks, or cell phones in the cabs of their vehicles, to billboards, buildings and people they pass by while driving, behaviors or activities that take drivers’ hands off the wheel, eyes off the road and attention off driving can increase their risk of getting into serious accidents.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, traveling at an unsafe speed given the conditions contributed to 23% of trucking accidents. The faster they are going, the greater perception-reaction, braking and stopping distances truck operators will need to safely slow or stop their vehicles.
Following too close is also a hazardous driving behavior for commercial truck operators. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, fully-loaded semitrailers require a stopping distance that is 20 to 40% farther than smaller passenger vehicles. Therefore, truckers may not be able to stop or slow their vehicles in time to avoid a collision if the cars in front of them brake suddenly.