18-Wheelers (semi-trucks) are a crucial part of getting goods to stores, but they pose significant risks to other motorists. Virtually everyone has experienced the stress of driving alongside a big truck, which can be especially intimidating at high speeds or in traffic congestion. Not surprisingly, most fatalities in accidents involving an 18-wheeler are the occupants of passenger vehicles, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. In 2014, in accidents involving a passenger vehicle and an 18-wheeler, 97% of deaths were occupants of the passenger vehicle.
Because of their massive size (18-wheelers can legally weigh up to 80,000 pounds and can stretch up to 80 feet), wrecks with semi-trucks are often severe. 18-wheelers need about 40% more time to stop, according to Truckers Report. Compounding the problem, semi-trucks also have much larger blind spots than passenger vehicles. Often, it is a combination of factors that cause an 18-wheeler accident.
Because safety starts with knowing the cause of the problem, we’ve compiled this list of reasons why 18-wheeler accidents most often occur:
- Driver Fatigue
Truck Drivers are often under enormous pressure to meet delivery deadlines. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration limits truck drivers to driving a maximum of 11 hours a day or 70 hours a week. However, there has been a recent push in Congress to raise the limit to 82 hours a week. Regardless, fatigue often sets in well before the legal limits and poses significant danger for everyone. Even though shorter work weeks could prove more expensive for trucking companies in the short run, insurance deductions, and fewer accidents should provide long-term financial benefits. [Read more…] about Stay Safe Around Big Rigs: Know the Common Causes of 18-Wheeler Accidents