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The 3 Most Common Causes of Trucking Accidents

Plus, how to avoid them.

Did you know that each year in the United States, there are 500,000 trucking accidents? That’s a horrifying statistic.

Even more startling is that around 5000 of these accidents result in death.

Every 15 minutes, a person is either killed or seriously injured from a trucking accident.

These accidents are caused by a multitude of reasons, but we’re going to really focus on the 3 most common causes of accidents and what truckers can do to prevent them.

Because really, the only thing more important than the cargo you are hauling is that it safely and securely gets to it’s destination.

  1. Fatigue

Overworked truck drivers are the most dangerous truck drivers.

In fact, as we’ve talked about in the past, sleep-deprived driving is possibly worse than drunk driving. This is a compelling fact, but research shows that it’s true.

For truck drivers, this creates a difficult problem, especially because our “success-driven” culture tells us that they have to deliver cargo as fast as possible, no matter the circumstances. The problem is, once you adopt this mindset, you slowly increase the risk for accidents, injury, and even death.

For truck drivers and dispatchers, this means that an awareness of limits is super important to make sure that cargo gets to its destination as efficiently as possible without harming drivers. Working hard isn’t always the smartest thing, and the effects of sleep-deprived and exhausted driving are a crucial part of this.

  1. Driving Under the Influence of Drugs

Some truck drivers have been caught in the past driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol, but they aren’t at fault for all of the DUI accidents that occur with trucks every year.

Drunk driving is a nationwide problem that kills thousands of people every year, and it’s unfair to put all of the blame on any single group of people.

Furthermore, it’s not even just illegal drugs that cause driving issues for truck drivers and civilians. There’s evidence that even some prescription drugs (like antidepressants and opioids) can impair drivers.

The solution to prevent DUI driving accidents is simple, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Sure, I can just tell you to stop doing drugs, but that doesn’t factor in medical issues like addiction, mental illness, and even chronic burnout that can all lead to substance use and abuse.

  1. Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is a bit of a new problem for trucking companies and drivers. It’s a new problem for all of us.

20 years ago, it’s not like distracted didn’t exist, but it wasn’t the national problem that it is now. How could it have been? In the early 2000s/late 90s, no one was driving around with a smartphone in their pocket that had access to all of the world’s information at the tap of a screen.

For drivers — both civilian and commercial — the way to prevent this is also simple: put your phone away while you’re driving! That text message or Google search can wait, and if it really can’t, pull over and use your phone.

Distracted driving is a huge problem, and it especially affects young drivers. As more and more millennial and Gen Z drivers are taking the road, it’s more important than ever that we crackdown on distracted driving the same way we should be cracking down on distracted and fatigued driving.

Closing Thoughts

These are just a few of the biggest causes of trucking accidents, but this is by no means a comprehensive list. Distracted, fatigued, and drug-influenced driving collectively causes most of the accidents involving trucking industry employees, but poor driver training and ineffective equipment is another example of a horrifying cause of trucking accidents.

If you’re interested in learning more about safe driving, accident causes, and how you can help out, be sure to visit the web pages of organizations like the National Safety Council or their sub-page designed specifically for truck drivers. However, the easier way to help make the roads safer is to be a safe driver yourself. This problem can be dramatically improved with individual awareness.

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