Any car crash can have catastrophic results for the people in the vehicles involved. Certain kinds of accidents, however, carry larger risks for severe injury and even death. Collisions between vehicles with large disparities in size are a perfect example.
The people using the smaller vehicle are likely to suffer worse injuries as a result of a collision. When a motorcycle driver collides with a passenger vehicle, the end result can be tragic for the person on the motorcycle. When the collision is between a passenger vehicle and a commercial truck, the people in the smaller vehicle almost always bear the brunt of the consequences.
Many of these collisions relate to negligence or poor decision-making on the part of the commercial driver, which may provide grounds for seeking compensation after a crash.
Trucker exhaustion is a pressing concern
Commercial driving often means long shifts without breaks and longer work days then people experience in other fields. Even with federal rules in place to prevent driver fatigue, the people tasked with controlling commercial vehicles often work long shifts and experience exhaustion.
A study exploring factors that impacted commercial truck crashes found that at least 13 percent of those crashes relate to driver fatigue. The longer a trucker has been on the road, the more their exhaustion can impair their ability to drive. Slower response times, impaired decision-making and difficulty focusing are only some of the issues caused by fatigue.
Distraction is another issue for commercial drivers
Working long hours on the road doesn't just make someone tired. It can leave them feeling socially isolated and stressed, too. Job conditions for commercial drivers can compel them to engage in dangerous distracted driving habits.
Sometimes, distractions seem like a minor thing. A commercial driver may choose to eat a meal without pulling off to the side of the road. However, that takes hands off the wheel and focus off the road. The end result could be an otherwise preventable collision.
Mobile devices are another source of distraction. Drivers may attempt to stave off exhaustion or feelings of loneliness by checking in on social media or texting with family members. While every state has its own approach to distracted driving involving mobile devices, federal rules for commercial drivers prohibit manual texting or emailing while in control of a commercial vehicle.
When commercial drivers violate these or other laws put in place to keep the roads safe, they endanger everyone. Anyone who suffers an injury caused by a commercial driver should take steps to determine if exhaustion, distraction or chemical impairment contributed to the crash. In the event that any of these situations apply, they may provide grounds for a lawsuit against the driver or even their employer in some circumstances.