If there’s anything that can reduce how frightening big trucks are on the road, it’s the fact that commercial drivers have a lot more training than people with standard driver’s licenses. That extra training gives them experience and knowledge that allows them to better control large commercial vehicles.
Unfortunately, a lack of knowledge is rarely the primary contributing factor to a crash involving a commercial vehicle. Instead, when a truck driver causes a crash, it is often because they fall victim to the exact same mistakes that plague other people on the roads.
Some commercial drivers get behind the wheel after a few drinks
Most trucking companies have strict policies about alcohol consumption and the use of medication before driving. Additionally, there are federal eligibility rules and state impairment laws that apply to truckers, usually holding them to a higher standard than other drivers.
Much like people who get behind the wheel of passenger vehicles while drunk, commercial drivers know that they shouldn’t drive after having a few drinks. They may overestimate their own skill and choose to get behind the wheel anyway.
Distraction is tempting for those working long hours
Commercial driving is a monotonous and lonely career path. Even drivers on a team will have to spend a lot of time alone as their partner sleeps. Commercial truckers may try to stave off boredom and fatigue by using mobile technology to communicate with loved ones.
When they do so, especially if they text or dial the phone by hand, they could violate the federal no-text rule that prohibits the use of mobile devices while in control of a commercial truck. They also increase the likelihood of failing to notice something on the road that could lead to a major crash.
Long hours on the road can lead to fatigue issues
Many commercial drivers don’t work the same standard 8-hour shifts as the average worker. Instead, they will drive the maximum number of hours they legally can in a single shift. By the end of a day at work, many commercial drivers feel exhausted, and the fatigue that they feel could impact their driving as much as alcohol sometimes does.
For those hurt in a crash caused by a commercial driver, exploring what might have contributed to the collision can help you establish fault and give you an idea of your compensation options.