While large trucks make up less than 5% of traffic on the roads, to anyone driving along side one of these beasts on the highway, it probably seems like a lot more than that. Despite being only 5% of roadway traffic these trucks account for over 10% of all fatal truck accidents in Missouri and Illinois. This is due to the fact that when a loaded 18 wheeler can weigh as much as 40 tons or 20 times more than a typical 4,000 pound passenger car. Truck driving, according to Time Magazine, is number 8 on the list of the “most dangerous jobs.” It’s an incredibly important job, yet it’s a risky one. While total traffic fatalities have decreased over the last 15 years, commercial tractor trailers are still responsible for dozens of deaths each year in Missouri and Illinois. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, these crashes can be generally grouped into the following causes:
- Driver Errors – this can include speeding, making illegal maneuvers, improperly secured loads, driver fatigue, alcohol or illegal drug use, prescription and over-the-counter drug use, driver illness and stress, inadequate training and inattentive driving
- Truck Problems – this includes brake failure, defective parts, improper truck maintenance, overloaded and oversized trucks and poorly loaded trucks.
- Environmental Issues – Weather, missing signs on the road, traffic flow detours and compromised sightline.