Traffic incidents involving trucks can quickly become catastrophic, causing lasting injuries, property damage, and even fatalities. Because of their massive weight and size, 18-wheelers and other large commercial trucks are the most difficult to handle and to avoid. The NHTSA reported that in 2015, over 120 motor vehicle fatalities in New York State involved a large truck. While the trucks themselves pose a great risk, it’s the drivers of smaller vehicles who usually suffer the consequences. Take a look at some of the most common causes of truck-related accidents in New York to see how you can do your part to make the road safe for everyone.
- Distracted Driving
According to the New York State DMV, driver inattention or distraction was reported as the number one cause of large truck crashes in the year 2014. This factor led to 7 fatalities and over 650 personal injuries that year. In a state as traffic-heavy as New York, it’s worth keeping your eyes on the road at all times. A momentary glance at your GPS, your phone, or an outside distraction could be the difference between avoiding a dangerous situation and causing one.
- Unsafe Lane Usage
The DMV reported that many truck accidents were caused by improper or unsafe use of driving lanes. When you pass another vehicle without properly checking the distance or change lanes unsafely, you put yourself and others at risk. This is sometimes made worse by bulky trucks that block your view of other vehicles, cyclists, and pedestrians.
Unsafe speed accounted for the largest number of truck-related fatalities in 2014. Truck drivers might have more overall driving experience than the average motorist, but the amount of time they spend behind the wheel makes them statistically more likely to have an accident. Maintaining a safe speed helps to provide a safer driving environment for everyone on the road.
- Disregarding Other Drivers
Many crashes involving large trucks are caused by improper behavior towards other drivers. This includes failing to yield the right-of-way, following too closely behind another vehicle, and ignoring traffic control. Some drivers treat these rules as if they are a matter of courtesy that can be ignored at will, but they are backed by the law and enforced for the sake of road safety.
- Vehicle Deficiencies
Vehicular factors are less common than driver error when it comes to the causes surrounding truck accidents, but they still cause a significant number of accidents. While vehicular causes vary widely, they can include defective brakes, inadequate tires, and lighting defects. Regular vehicle inspections can help to lessen the risk of an accident.
- Environmental Factors
Some truck crashes can be caused by animals, glare from the sunlight that obstructs a driver’s vision, and debris on the roadway. Slippery pavement has been a common environmental factor in the past. Many of these risks can be evaded with enough care and attention, but some of them are unavoidable. It helps to record and photograph any relevant environmental circumstances in the event of an accident.
Driver error tends to be the most statistically prominent cause of truck crashes in New York and the United States at large. One poor driving decision can lead to a life-changing accident for the people involved. If you were injured, had your property damaged, or were otherwise impacted by a large truck accident, you may be entitled to legal compensation. But keep in mind, in such cases it is especially important that you enlist legal representation to protect your interests as most commercial truck companies will have a large corporate legal team backing them and working to deny you the compensation you deserve. Contact the attorneys at Cohen & Jaffe to get professional representation for your personal injury case. We hope to help you in your time of need.