Is an accident ever really just an accident? Behind a lot of traumatic incidents, you’ll find negligence. Negligence means that someone else’s carelessness led to damage or injury. When the careless party is armed with a heavy truck, the damage can be even worse. Here are five ways in which truck drivers can be found negligent in relation to an auto accident.
- Distracted driving.
Some drivers get so comfortable behind the wheel of their big rigs that they think it’s no big deal to check out that text that just came in. But using a cell phone, even just to chat while keeping your eyes on the road, can be negligent. Add in what type of materials are being hauled and how heavy the load is, and you realize there’s a lot at stake when you’re not giving the drive your full attention.
- HOS violations.
HOS stands for hours of service, and this refers to federal regulations put in place which mandate rest and breaks for long-haul truckers. Exceeding the 11 or 14 hour limits following a certain period of rest is certainly negligent, and often happens in a bid to deliver a load on schedule. However, what’s profitable for the company can be deadly for people on the road.
- Improper or inadequate training.
It should go without saying that driving an 18-wheeler demands much more from a driver than the average car does. You must obtain a CDL, go to school, and pass licensing and safety exams. If an individual or company tries to cut corners here, all they have created is a negligent driver. As soon as they hit a patch of nasty weather, or get a load that’s poorly balanced, it will become apparent how ill-equipped they are.
Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol is extremely illegal and definitely negligent, no matter what you’re driving. Yet we must consider how much more might be at stake when a truck driver does so. The average sedan will weigh roughly four to 5,000 pounds. Meanwhile, an 18-wheeler can approach a weight of 80,000 pounds, making for a deadlier weapon.
It must also be stated that the very nature of trucking might increase the risk of inebriated driving. Any trucker might abstain from alcohol on the road, but they are more likely to use OTC, prescription, and illegal drugs that help them stay awake for long periods of time. These too can lead to paranoia and jumpiness that results in an accident.
Like most people, truckers take their paychecks quite seriously. In a bid to get where they’re going quickly, they might employ some pretty aggressive driving techniques. Making swift lane changes, tailgating, speeding, and helping to box cars in on the highway are a few examples of negligently aggressive behavior.
Any driver can do wrong on the road, but truck drivers might pose an elevated risk. While many are true professionals who can actually make the road safer for everyone, there are plenty of opportunities for things to go badly. When you combine the weight of a truck with inexperience, substance use, fatigue, impatience, or cell phones, you have a recipe for gross negligence.