Because we are at the crossroads of several of America's busiest highways, it should come as little surprise that Nashville sees a sizeable number of commercial truck accidents each year. Data shows that the number of trucking fatalities has been on the rise in recent years, including here in Nashville—and the vast majority of injury and fatality victims are in passenger cars that are involved in these accidents. Let's take a closer look at ten of the most common causes of trucking accidents in the Nashville area.
Despite the fact that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has established rules as to how long truck drivers can work without breaks, many drivers still fudge those rules under pressure to make deadlines. Studies show that truckers average fewer than five hours of sleep per night, and as many as 25 percent of truckers have fallen asleep behind the wheel at some point.
It is dangerous for any vehicle to speed, but trucks are very likely to cause damage and injury because their weight makes it harder for them to stop. Truck drivers can face fines or even be fired for arriving late, so they often speed to make up for lost time.
Unbalanced or Excessive Loads
If a truck's cargo is improperly loaded, or if the truck is overloaded, it can be a recipe for disaster. When a truck is overloaded, the added pressure of the cargo on the rear axle can cause it to swerve out of control. If a truck's load is improperly balanced in any way, it can result in blown tires, difficulty stopping, or even rolling over.
Impaired driving is a factor in many trucking accidents each year. Truck drivers may drive under the influence of alcohol, illegal drugs, or prescription medications. Trucking companies are supposed to conduct random drug tests of their employees, but they don't always keep up with those requirements.
Driving requires full attention to the road, but truck drivers are often distracted by their mobile devices, the same as many other drivers—despite the fact that texting while driving is illegal in Tennessee. Truck drivers can also be distracted by eating, talking through a hands-free device, and even by their own thoughts with hours on the road—often with deadly consequences.
Improper Training, Screening, or Supervision of Drivers
Truckers are supposed to go through intensive and ongoing training and must follow continuing education requirements even after obtaining their CDLs. If a business allows a trucker to operate one of its vehicles without proper training or supervision—or if they don't screen their drivers properly—they can be held liable for any injury accidents that result.
Improper Maintenance Routines
Trucking companies are supposed to keep their fleets properly maintained, but sometimes scheduling pressures cause them to bend the rules, opening the door for malfunctions like tire blowouts, brake failures, or other issues that can cause a truck driver to lose control of their vehicle. Many trucks passing through Nashville aren't current with their maintenance, and sometimes this causes them to crash.
Truck manufacturers have a responsibility to make sure their parts and equipment are functional and safe. A manufacturing flaw can have disastrous or fatal consequences for drivers as well as others on the road.
Humans make mistakes, including the most competent truck drivers. Unfortunately, when you're driving an 80,000-pound vehicle, those mistakes can sometimes be damaging or deadly.
Tennessee is known for its severe weather. High winds can easily overturn semi-trucks, and wet or icy roads can turn a truck into a massive projectile. A truck driver who makes a bad judgment call to drive in bad weather can often do terrible damage.
If a Truck Driver Caused Your Crash, We Can Help
As you can see by this list, many common causes of trucking accidents in Nashville are totally preventable, and in many cases, the injuries they caused could have been avoided. If you've been injured in a Nashville trucking accident, the lawyers at Weir & Kestner can help you avoid common mistakes and hold the responsible parties accountable, so you can recover all the damages to which you are entitled. Fill out our contact form today to schedule a free consultation.