The number of highway accidents caused by commercial trucks is in the neighborhood of 500,000 a year. About 1 percent of those will result in a fatality. There are 3 common causes of semi-truck accidents and all are rooted in the structure of the trucking industry itself.
Let’s take a look.
There are federal regulations in place for how long drivers can be on the road. Responsible trucking companies not only adhere to those regulations but also carefully monitor how many miles their drivers rack up each day—thus being able to conclude if speed limits were being followed.
But the nature of the business is still to get a product to a certain place by a certain time. That place is often across the country and time is often limited. A driver can still legally drive up to 11 hours a day. Even a professional driver might get worn down on their fourth straight 11-hour day behind the wheel.
Those long days, in turn, lead to boredom. Most of us who are civilian drivers are unable to get through a single commute without having to check our phone and be plugged into our text messages. How much more tempting is it for the driver rolling through the Kansas plains to seek some stimulation?
Trucking is also like any other industry in that new hires have to learn on the job. Of course, they’re mandated to get their CDL license and responsible trucking companies will put them through a good training program, allowing a new driver’s feet to get wet slowly. But again, sound regulations and responsible business leadership can’t completely override the human condition, including the need for experience.