According to the Alberta Ministry of Transportation, more than 1.2 million trucks travel in and through Alberta annually. When one of these commercial vehicles gets into an accident, there can be an enormous amount of damage.
Thus, minimizing the risk of crashing is crucial, and we can all play a role in this by understanding and avoiding the common behaviours that lead to a crash.
What causes these crashes?
There are several reasons why trucks crash. Some common causes include:
- Untrained truckers: Truck drivers must be licenced and trained to operate these massive vehicles properly. When people misrepresent their qualifications or hire unsafe drivers, they can increase the likelihood of an accident.
- Reckless motorists: Drivers who follow trucks too closely, cut off a truck or are otherwise careless while sharing the road with a commercial vehicle can dramatically increase the risk of getting into an accident with that truck.
- Unsafe trucks or trailers: Federal and provincial regulations are in place to ensure commercial vehicles are safe to operate. When owners, operators, manufacturers or other parties fail to comply with these regulations, a truck can be dangerous or defective.
- Distracted drivers: Any time a driver focuses on their phone, a GPS or something else in their vehicle instead of the road, they increase the risk of an accident. Whether visual, physical or cognitive, distractions can make a driver incapable of operating a vehicle safely.
- Fatigued truck drivers: With few exceptions, people who drive trucks, tractors or trailers must comply with hours of service regulations. These restrict the number of hours a person can be behind the wheel in an effort to reduce fatigued driving. The limits vary by province and country.
Looking at these common causes of accidents, it is clear that many trucking crashes are preventable. When truck drivers, trucking companies and other motorists make unsafe choices, they put themselves and other road users in danger.
Who do these crashes affect most?
Unfortunately, no matter what the cause of a trucking accident may be, individuals outside a truck typically pay the price. Cyclists, pedestrians and people in passenger vehicles can suffer catastrophic or fatal injuries, while truck drivers may walk away unscathed.
As such, it is in everyone’s best interests to make safe, responsible choices when it comes to commercial trucks and sharing the road with them.