What Are the Main Causes of Truck Accidents in Kentucky?
Commercial trucking accidents take thousands of lives every year. According to data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), there were 4,862 deadly crashes that involved large trucks in 2018 alone. Although truck accidents are much more than data, facts and statistics – they involve real human lives – understanding the main causes of truck accidents in Kentucky could enable you to prevent a collision.
Truck Driver Error
Not just anyone can operate a commercial truck. Federal and state laws require truck drivers to obtain commercial driver’s licenses and receive special training before they can get behind the wheel. This is because large trucks are dangerous motor vehicles that must be handled with care. Unfortunately, truck drivers are only human. They are prone to making many of the same mistakes as other motor vehicle drivers, such as:
- Driving while distracted
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Using incorrect driving techniques
- Driving recklessly
- Violating traffic laws
- Failing to yield the right-of-way
- Running red lights and stop signs
- Making unsafe lane changes
- Failing to inspect a truck before driving
There are many different examples of driver errors that can cause truck accidents in Kentucky. Even a minor mistake could culminate in a catastrophic truck accident. Evidence that may exist to prove truck driver error may include eyewitness statements, black box evidence, in-cab camera footage, the driver’s employment and driving records, the driver’s medical history, and cell phone records.
Truck Driver Fatigue
Truck driver fatigue is a major issue in the trucking industry. According to the FMCSA, a study of all large truck accidents found that 13 percent of commercial motor vehicle drivers were fatigued at the time of their accidents. Truck driver fatigue is common due to long work hours, overnight drives, lack of adequate sleep on the road, sleep apnea and other factors. A truck driver may be more likely to drive tired if a trucking company pressures him or her to meet a deadline by breaching the FMCSA’s hours-of-service regulations.
Trucking Company Negligence
Negligence means that a trucking company did not act in a reasonable and safe manner. If trucking company negligence causes a truck accident in Kentucky, the company can be held liable, or financially responsible, for the crash. Trucking companies are often negligent in the name of saving time or money. Common examples of trucking company negligence are:
- Poor truck driver training
- Negligent hiring or retention practices
- Failing to screen drivers
- Violated federal laws and rules
- Lack of fleet vehicle maintenance
- Poor load securement
- Oversized loads
All trucking companies must carry minimum amounts of liability insurance to pay for victims’ medical bills, property repairs and death benefits in a serious accident caused by the negligence of the trucking company or one of its employees – including truck drivers.
Vehicle Part Breakdowns
Large trucks have thousands of different pieces that must all work seamlessly together for safe cargo transport. If any truck part is defective, poorly maintained or in need of repairs, the truck could experience a malfunction or breakdown in transit that causes an accident, such as:
- Tire blowout
- Steering failure
- Brake failure
- Tow-hitch failure
- Electrical malfunction
- Lighting issue
- Faulty horn
- Broken windshield wipers
- Missing or broken rear guard
If an investigation finds that negligence by the trucking company or truck driver led to a truck that was unfit for the road, the company may be held liable for damages. If the issue is related to a defective truck part, however, the manufacturing company may be liable for a design, manufacturing or marketing defect.
If you or a loved one was recently injured in a truck accident in Kentucky, contact an attorney about filing a lawsuit, regardless of the cause of your crash.