Safety Defects, Driver Fatigue Linked to Most Truck Accidents

cloudy-1866581_640-300x200Even as many new big-rig trucks now come with safety features, factors like trucker fatigue and safety defects continue to persist, contributing to many truck accidents every year.  The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently conducted a truck safety study and found that two major factors contribute to truck accidents. Safety defects in trucks and extended driver work hours continue to be contributors to many trucking accidents every year and as a result, in 2015, there were a total of 3,815 trucking accident fatalities across the United States.

In the study, researchers found that approximately 75% of the trucks that had been involved in accidents had defects that only came to light during inspections conducted after the accident had occurred. Truck defects that were serious enough to qualify as “out- of -service” violations were more than four times as likely to be involved in an accident as compared to trucks that did not contain such defects. Examples of “out- of- service” violations include malfunctioning brakes, worn-out tires, and damaged headlights.

However, all kinds of vehicle defects increase the risk of an accident but brake violations were found to be some of the most dangerous increasing tractor-trailer crash risk by as much as three times.

Apart from safety defects, long truck driver work hours and truck driver fatigue also seem to play a predominant role in causing serious truck accidents. Those truckers who are over the age of 60-years-old seem to have the highest fatigue-related accident risk of all age groups.  Truckers who reported operating the commercial motor vehicle for at least 12 hours consecutively before a break were more likely to be involved in an accident. This was compared to drivers who had been driving for less than 12 hours. The risk seems to increase corresponding with the number of total hours driven. Truckers driving for five hours and above were more likely to be involved in an accident, where as drivers who had been driving between one and five hours who were less likely.

However, the new mandate for electronic logging devices, which make it much harder for commercial truck drivers to manipulate log records and drive for longer hours than allowed, should help reduce the risk of driver fatigue and reduce the risk of accidents.

The study also found that trucks equipped with rollover stability control, electronic stability control, electronic logging devices and other forms of safety technologies seem to be at less of a risk for being involved in an accident. However, new rules and technologies promise to reduce the risk of disastrous accidents, like rollovers. New mandates requiring trucks, tractor trailers, and buses to be fitted with electronic stability control systems go into effect by August 2017. 

The Indiana trucking accident lawyers at Montross Miller Muller Mendelson & Kennedy, LLP represent persons injured in trucking accidents across the state of Indiana. If your loved one has been injured in a trucking accident, discuss your legal rights with an experienced trucking accident attorney at our firm.