Commercial motor vehicle (CMV) drivers, or drivers who operate buses and trucks, especially 18-wheelers (also known as big rigs or semi-trailers) are subject to the same road safety rules as drivers of smaller vehicles; in addition to observing traffic rules, however, they should also yield to smaller vehicles to avoid catastrophic accidents which often result to severe injuries or deaths. Many accidents involving trucks are caused by truck drivers’ negligence: a failure on drivers’ part to exercise the level of care required in operating a vehicle as huge as the one they operate. These acts of negligence or error include:
- Driving while fatigued. Many fatal truck accidents are due to a truck traveling at about 65 mph, failing to slow down and ramming into smaller vehicles. Though it may appear that the accident was caused by break failure, investigation often show that the driver was actually asleep while behind the wheel. This is often due to violation of the hours of service (HOS) regulation, which specify the length of a driver’s daily shift and the maximum number of driving hours during shift, the length of breaks and off-duty hours.
- Traffic violations. Some of these violations, which are serious driving errors, include failure to signal when changing lanes, not stopping at red lights, beating a red light, driving erratically, driving above the speed limit, driving too fast despite poor road conditions.
- Loading a truck improperly. This can result to cargo falling off a truck or, a truck overturning or jackknifing due to insecure or unevenly distributed cargo.
- Rear-end collisions. A truck driver rear-ending another vehicle can be due to many different reasons, including failing to keep a safe distance from the vehicle ahead, driving too fast for road conditions, falling asleep behind the wheel, and getting distracted while driving.
There are different contributory factors too why errors are committed even by veteran tractors. Two of these are driving while impaired (either by alcohol or illegal drug) and driving faster – in order to cover more miles and make delivery deadlines. Due to the commanding presence of 18-wheelers on the road, the Abel Law Firm says that drivers of smaller vehicles should take extra care around these large vehicles; however, truck drivers should also control their vehicles and exercise caution at all times to help avoid causing an accident.