Many people in Michigan and elsewhere are under the impression that alcohol and illegal substance use cause most commercial vehicle accidents. Those people might be surprised to learn that, according to the FMCA’s Large Truck Crash Causation Study, alcohol and drugs are linked to only 0.3% and 0.4% of big rig accidents, respectively.
The top cause of truck accidents
The FMCA study determined that mechanical defects cause most large truck accidents. Furthermore, the study showed that wheels, tires and brakes are linked to most accident-causing defects. However, it was reported that newer electronic systems in trucks and steering wheel defects cause similar numbers of accidents.
The weight of large trucks causes many accidents
There is a massive difference between the weight of a large commercial truck and a regular vehicle. Fully loaded with cargo, a truck could weigh 40 tons or more. In comparison, a typical passenger vehicle weighs approximately 2.5 tons. Due to the weight of large trucks, they cannot come to a halt as quickly as a regular car can, which often causes accidents. Furthermore, large trucks pose risks that are even more significant if they have attached trailers and their cargo loads are not correctly balanced.
Speed and weight cause many semi-truck accidents
Semi-truck drivers have incredibly challenging jobs that require optimal alertness at all times. The massive weight, coupled with the difficulty to remain in control of a truck and a trailer, requires special skills to come to a safe stop in emergencies. Regular passenger vehicles need only about 300 feet to come to a halt, while a semi-truck needs 525 feet. Aspects that further challenge big rig drivers to bring a tractor-trailer to a safe stop in limited space include mechanical conditions, speed and driver fatigue.
Sharing the responsibility of safe driving could keep more truckers and passenger vehicle occupants safe. However, regular vehicle occupants often suffer catastrophic injuries in truck accidents due to the size and weight difference. Suppose they can show negligence on the part of the truck driver. In that case, the truck owner or any other entity might be accountable for their medical expenses and other damages in a personal injury lawsuit in a Michigan civil court.