People throughout Oregon share the roads and highways with large commercial trucks every day. Unfortunately, collisions involving tractor-trailers and smaller passenger cars are all too common, and they often result in serious injuries or death for those involved. Any number of factors may contribute to the occurrence of trucking accidents, several of which may be the fault of the truck operators.
Driving faster than the posted speed limit is a risky driving behavior for all motorists, but it may be particularly hazardous for tractor-trailer operators. When traveling faster than the posted speed limit, truckers may be more likely to lose control of their vehicles and may lack the necessary time and distance to slow or stop their vehicles in time to avoid a collision. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, a trucking accident causation study found that of driver-related causes, speeding was the most common contributor to collisions involving large commercial vehicles.
Impairment resulting from drug or alcohol use also frequently plays a role in causing large truck wrecks. In fact, of the 4,600 tractor-trailer operators involved in fatal trucking accidents in 2017, 5% had at least one drug in their system at the time of the accident. This may include, for example, over-the-counter, prescription or illegal drugs.
Distraction or inattention on the part of truck operators commonly contributes to the occurrence of trucking collisions. According to the FMCSA, distracted driving was involved in 71% of the trucking accidents analyzed in a 2009 study. The distractions that may affect truck operators’ ability to safely operate their vehicles include eating, adjusting the radio and using dispatching devices. Looking at things such as billboards, buildings and people outside of their vehicles may also cause potentially hazardous distractions for truck operators.