It is a common misperception that truck operators are always at fault for the crashes that they’re involved in. Sometimes, truck crashes are caused by truck operators. Other times, they may be caused by negligent motorists, poor road conditions, defective auto parts and a variety of other factors.
With that said, large commercial trucks are notoriously dangerous pieces of equipment. Truck operators work in a notoriously dangerous industry. And trucking companies have historically not always made choices that are conducive to safety. All of these realities contribute to the fact that these vehicles are uniquely hazardous.
Truck structure, maintenance and other factors
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is a federal agency tasked with preventing injurious and fatal commercial motor vehicle collisions. While this agency does what it can to effectively regulate the trucking industry, the very design of large commercial trucks renders them hazardous as a matter of course.
When trucks are fully loaded, they can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. This tonnage amounts to roughly 20 times more than the average U.S. passenger car. When a vehicle that is so massive and so heavy crashes, the resulting damage is often catastrophic. Unfortunately, because trucks have significant blind spots and can neither slow down nor turn with the precision that smaller vehicles can, they are prone to crashing.
It is also worth noting that for-profit trucking companies don’t always act ethically when pushing their drivers to protect their bottom line. Some don’t properly maintain their fleet, train their drivers, observe federal regulations, etc. These choices can make the operation of already dangerous vehicles even more hazardous.
By understanding why the operation of large commercial trucks is so dangerous, truck operators can be inspired to take great care when hauling freight. Additionally, understanding the hazards that these vehicles pose can help to ensure that motorists take care when driving near them. In either case, when accidents happen, everyone involved will need to carefully consider whether truck-related hazards played a role in the causation of these collisions.