How Common are Trucking Accidents in Ohio?
Trucking accidents are, unfortunately, a common occurrence in Ohio. Each year, thousands of trucking accidents occur on the state's highways and interstates, resulting in injuries and fatalities. According to research conducted by the National Safety Council (NSC) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there were over 37,133 fatal crashes on the nation’s roadways, with 13.2% of those involving commercial trucks or buses. Of those trucking and bus accidents, it’s estimated 4,842 were casualties, and almost 6,000 involved severe injuries requiring hospitalization. This shockingly high number could be even higher if you consider that many crashes each year go unreported because drivers on the scene consider them minor incidents. Unfortunately, in most accidents involving large trucks and passenger vehicles, the seriously injured victim or fatality is typically a passenger or driver from the smaller vehicle. According to the same NSC study, seventy-one percent of people killed in large-truck crashes in 2019 were occupants of other vehicles.
8 Common Causes of Trucking Accidents in Ohio
Trucking accidents happen more often than we think, and while they range in severity – they are largely avoidable. In Ohio, accidents on I-80 and I-90 account for most of the state’s trucking-related collisions. With so many large trucks on the road, it's important to know how to stay safe when sharing the road with them. The FMCSA ranked Ohio in the top 10 states for large truck collisions. With so many large trucking accidents in Ohio each year, it begs the question, what’s causing these collisions?
The most common causes of trucking accidents are:
- Fatigue: Truckers are often under pressure to reach their destination in a timely manner, leading to extended hours of driving without rest. This can lead to drowsy or fatigued driving, which only puts drivers and other motorists at risk.
- Distractions: Like other drivers, truckers are prone to distractions such as talking on the phone, eating/drinking while driving, and engaging with other devices within their cabins. All these activities can be dangerous for truck drivers and those around them.
- Alcohol: Despite strict regulations set by federal and state laws for commercial driver’s license holders, some truck drivers have still violated intoxication standards, which prohibit a blood alcohol concentration higher than .04%.
- Aggressive and Reckless Driving: When drivers intentionally disregard regulations, like speeding beyond posted limits or ignoring traffic lights or signage, their behavior is considered negligent and dangerous. Failing to yield or even tailgating are considered aggressive and reckless driving.
- Maintenance: To keep tight schedules, many trucking companies struggle to keep up with industry maintenance standards. When a truck is being maintained, it can’t be driven, which can also impact a company’s reluctance to maintain its fleet. Poor vehicle maintenance can lead to blown tires, poor brakes, and non-working brake lights or signals which can cause accidents.
- Cargo: Poorly loaded cargo can cause a semi-truck or tractor-trailer to tip over and spill onto the roadway. Large trucks are more vulnerable to collisions when packed cargo is uneven and proper loading techniques are ignored.
- Weather: Every driver of any type of vehicle can fall victim to overconfidence during poor weather conditions. When driving in heavy rain, ice, or snow, it’s important to remember roadways are slick, which negatively impacts traction and maneuverability. Bad weather conditions such as heavy rain, ice fog, smoke, and snow make it difficult for all vehicles to see clearly while driving – especially large commercial trucks.
- Hazardous Road Conditions: Large trucks on poorly maintained roads can be hazardous for everyone. Commercial vehicles are harder to maneuver, which makes quick course corrections difficult. Attempting to swerve to avoid road issues can lead to accidents. Road maintenance problems like improper signage, poor lighting, debris, or missing guardrails can cause large trucking accidents.
Tragic accidents involving commercial trucks and passenger vehicles can largely be avoided if both drivers and companies took proper measures to mitigate risk. By understanding the most common causes of trucking accidents, drivers can hopefully be in a better position to prevent them from occurring.
Contact the Trucking Accident Attorneys at Bridges, Jillisky, Weller & Gullifer, LLC
At Bridges, Jillisky, Weller & Gullifer, LLC, we understand how devastating trucking accidents can be for victims and their families. Our team of experienced lawyers is here to provide legal guidance and the legal assistance you need to make the best decisions for your future. If you or a loved one has been injured in a trucking accident, don’t wait any longer for help! Contact us today! We will work with you every step of the way until you receive the justice and compensation you deserve.