Commercial drivers have very demanding careers. They work shifts that are much longer than the average employee’s and have to remain fully attentive and aware the entire time that they are on the clock. Small mistakes can lead to catastrophic consequences when someone’s job involves controlling a commercial vehicle.
Unfortunately, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), more crashes involving semi-trucks than not are the fault of the commercial driver. When the driver causes the crash, it is often bad decisions that they make the wheel that ultimately lead to a collision. These are some of the common mistakes that drivers in commercial vehicles make that lead to crashes.
1. They let emotion overpower training
Commercial drivers are well aware that they can’t dial their phone or respond to a text message while at the wheel. However, sometimes they allow their loneliness to overpower their better judgment, which may lead to them engaging in some kind of distracting digital activity to stave off their loneliness.
On the other hand, it may be anger or frustration that leads to a truck driver making a mistake. Hours on the road and the possibility of a delay affecting someone’s pay might lead to them exploding over an inconvenience. Dramatic footage recorded on I-49 near Shreveport on Tuesday, March 28 shows two truck drivers effectively shutting down the interstate in a road rage incident that could easily have resulted in a wreck.
2. They focus on their deadline and not road conditions
One of the most common mistakes in judgment a commercial driver will make is to continue driving at the same speed as usual, which may be the speed limit, rather than slowing down due to heavy traffic or bad weather. Commercial drivers subject to a delivery deadline may make poor decisions about how they operate their vehicles because they want to avoid discipline or maximize their pay.
3. They assume their skill will overcome all challenges
Some drivers become complacent about safety after years at the wheel without incident. They may stop taking their time as they approach tight corners or may begin traveling closer to other vehicles in traffic.
While such issues may not lead to any consequences at first, those changing practices that reflect increased confidence in their personal skill may eventually lead to a preventable collision with tragic consequences for the people in the smaller vehicle.
When commercial drivers make mistakes, the people in the smaller vehicle will frequently be the ones who pay the heaviest price. Learning more about the causes of semi-truck crashes can help people to feel more empowered to demand justice – with the assistance of an experienced legal professional – in the event that one occurs.