Sometimes, it seems like delivery trucks have taken over the world. The rapid pace of deliveries from Amazon and other online shopping outlets has spawned a vast fleet of delivery drivers. There are the big, over-the-road trucks driven by Class A commercial drivers. There are the medium-size box trucks that are typically driven by less-regulated Class B drivers. Then there are individuals in cars working on a contract basis for minimal pay.
Out on the highway, we may see UPS or FedEx drivers speeding, driving distracted or simply failing to gauge the conditions properly and going off the road.
We’ve all seen how busy these trucks are in town. When drivers deliver packages, it seems like they drop them on your porch, snap a picture and then run as fast as they can back to the truck. Isn’t that a recipe for crashes?
What are the most common causes of commercial truck accidents?
At least until recently, commercial trucks were more likely to be involved in collisions on highways. In 2007, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the agency that regulates U.S. trucking, completed a major study on the causes of commercial truck crashes and found:
- 87 percent were caused by driver error
- 10 percent were caused by problems with the vehicle
- 3 percent were caused by environmental factors
Driver error was divided into four categories, and the percentages in the categories add up to 87 percent. The categories were:
- Non-performance: Falling asleep or becoming physically impaired (12 percent)
- Recognition: Inattention, distraction or failing to observe the situation adequately (28 percent)
- Decision: Examples include following too closely, driving too fast for conditions, misjudging the speed of other vehicles (38 percent)
- Performance: Examples include panicking, overcompensation, exercising poor directional control (9 percent)
In addition, there were associated factors that contributed to the crashes. In descending order, the 10 most common associated factors include:
- Brake problems
- Interruption in the traffic flow
- Prescription drug use
- Traveling too fast for conditions
- Lack of familiarity with the roadway
- Problems with the roadway
- Required to stop before crash
- Over-the-counter drug use
- Inadequate surveillance
What does all that mean? The FMCSA actually identified three major scenarios that sum up typical crashes:
- Running out of the travel lane, either off the road or into another travel lane (32 percent)
- Loss of control due to traveling too fast for conditions, vehicle systems failure, cargo shift or poor road conditions (29 percent)
- Rear-ending a vehicle in the truck’s travel lane (22 percent)
The pressure to deliver quickly is escalating — and that could be dangerous
These days, whether you’re out on the highway or in town, FedEx, UPS and other delivery companies’ trucks are whizzing all around us. The drivers are under ever-increasing pressure to deliver on time or ahead of time in challenging conditions. They may feel the need to exceed the safe number of hours behind the wheel. They may feel pressure to speed, take energizing drugs or cut corners on safety.
If a delivery driver has injured you or a loved one, you can’t afford to simply accept the medical bills, lost wages and other losses you’ve incurred. Have your situation evaluated by an experienced personal injury attorney right away.