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Common Causes of Deadly Big Rig Crashes in Indiana

Semi-Truck Traveling on a Rainy DayLately, we’ve covered some of the most common causes of truck accidents: truck driver decision and truck size and weight. In this article, we will cover some additional hazards that can lead to deadly truck crashes in Indiana.

Situations That Can Lead to Commercial Truck Crashes

The following all-too-common scenarios can cause big rigs to crash and risk the lives of occupants of smaller passenger cars:

  • Poorly loaded cargo. Trucks can carry tens of thousands of pounds of cargo. These objects must be properly packed and secured for maximum safety. If the cargo is off balance or shifts during transportation, it can cause jackknifing and rollovers. If the cargo is not properly secured, it could fall off of the truck, causing accidents and major safety issues.

  • Adverse weather conditions. Driving any type of vehicle is more dangerous when you add rain, wind, snow, or ice. However, the troubles are magnified if you are driving a truck. Wind can literally blow trucks over, while ice and snow make braking and keeping control of the vehicle even more difficult. Fog or rain can decrease visibility and increase blind spots.

  • Inexperienced truckers. Studies have found that a disproportionate number of truck accidents involve truckers in training or truckers without much experience. This makes sense as they are simply not yet familiar with the dangers of truck driving or how big and heavy their vehicle really is. Employers of truck drivers should always check for commercial trucking licenses and confirm the trucker's driving history.

  • Mechanical problems. Trucks are on the road far more often than family-owned vehicles. They are constantly running at high speeds on the highway and hauling heavy loads. It is no surprise that they need much more maintenance, especially in regards to their tires and brakes. Although trucks are required to be checked for mechanical problems often, it is still a leading cause of truck accidents.

A large number of fatal truck accidents arise from a combination of causes, however, the single largest factor involved is a semi-truck’s inherent dangers paired with another driver’s lack of understanding on how to share the road with big rigs. That is why we share this helpful information about truck safety. If you were injured in a crash with a semi-truck contact Keller & Keller today. We get results.


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Why are semi-trucks so dangerous?

Drowsy Truck Driver Statistics

  • Studies have shown that being awake for a long period of time (18 hours) will leave a driver with the motor reflexes of someone who has a BAC level of 0.08%, putting them at equal risk of crashing.
  • Commercial trucks account for a small percentage of registered vehicles on our roadways, yet account for an alarming number of passenger vehicle accidents that involve death. (According to a 1999 report by the NHTSA, large trucks accounted for 3% of the registered vehicles on our highways, however, they were responsible for 13% of passenger vehicle deaths.)
  • Fatigue and drowsy driving is said to be a contributing factor in as many as 30-40% of all commercial truck accidents.
  • A 1995 National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) study found that of 107 heavy truck crashes, fatigue was a prominent factor in 75% of the run-off-the-road crashes, with 68% of long-haul drivers and 49% of short haul drivers suffering fatigue-related crashes.
  • A commerical truck driver who skips mandated rest breaks and sleep, greatly increases the likelihood of their being involved in an accident due to drowsiness. Additionally, a truck driver's ability to gain proper restorative sleep is affected even if they try to "catch up" on sleep when they have a day off.
  • Australian research and on-site investigations over the last several years have determined that, overall, one crash in every five among truck drivers is due to falling asleep at the wheel and that up to 30% of truck crash fatalities on rural roads are due to sleep deprivation.
  • The risk of a crash effectively doubles from the eighth to the tenth hour of driving, and doubles again from the tenth to the eleventh hour of driving alone. (FMCSA, 2000).

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