Brad Pistotnik Law
Abogado El Toro

What are the Most Dangerous Truck Driving Behaviors?

What are some of the most dangerous truck driving behaviors? Who is responsible for the injuries and wrongful deaths that driving behaviors can cause? Aggressive truck drivers can pose a considerable threat to the health and safety of other motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists. Weighing up to 40 tons, a fully loaded semi-truck is a deadly weapon that can wield lethal results even at low speeds.

In 2017, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance once again conducted their annual Safe Driver Week which is supported by the efforts of law enforcement agencies throughout the country. During this week, law enforcement issued 38,878 citations and warnings to truck drivers. Of these, 84% were the result of unsafe driving behaviors including swerving in and out of lanes. During Safe Driver Week, 7.4% of drivers were cited for speeding and 2.5% were cited for rolling through stop signs and stop lights. A further 2.6% were cited for failing to wear seat belts, and .8% were cited for using a handheld phone while driving. A relatively small percentage, .06% were cited for following too closely. Law enforcement also cited 19 drivers and issued warnings to 86 more for operating their vehicle while fatigued. In fact, drowsy driving is of particular interest to law enforcement and regulators as it is responsible for causing an estimated 83,000 traffic accidents each year and many of these involve commercial truck drivers operating on long-haul routes.

Many safe trucking companies use cameras that are focused on the driver to show erratic driving. Unfortunately, very few companies use these. Brad Pistotnik has studied trucking cases for more than 30 years.

The Large Truck Crash Causation Study showed that up to 5% of commercial motor vehicle accidents are caused by commercial vehicles traveling too closely to the vehicle in front of them. Guidelines for the industry set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to reduce the rates of "tailgating accidents" recommend commercial vehicle operators to allow one second of stopping time for every 10 feet of vehicle length and an additional second for every 10 mph the vehicle is traveling. This safe distance makes it possible for the driver to stop safely or evade objects or people in the motorway.

Nationwide, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that as many as 66% of traffic fatalities are the result of aggressive driving behaviors. Because certain medical conditions make a driver more prone to aggressive driving behaviors, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) prohibits drivers who suffer from bipolar disorder, major depression, attention deficit disorder, or schizophrenia from operating commercial motor vehicles. Drivers are also required to undergo testing for the presence of drugs including steroids and other prescription medications that can cause aggressive driving behaviors including tailgating, using lights/horns to intimidate motorists, swerving, intentionally causing collisions, or engaging in physical violence against other motorists.

Brad Pistotnik Law represents workers in Topeka, Wichita, Hays, Goodland, and elsewhere in Kansas, Wichita, Garden City, Liberal, Dodge City and in Nebraska, Missouri, and Illinois that have been injured in dangerous truck driving incidents. Victims and their survivors can pursue compensation that helps recover lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, as well as loss of quality of life, and the loss of consortium that a serious injury or death from a reckless driving accident can cause.

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