What are some common causes of truck accidents?

When you venture out onto the road, your intention is to make it to your destination safely. Unfortunately, though, there has been a spike in the number of accidents on U.S. roadways, leading many to question not only what is causing this increase, but also just what to do after an accident.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, preliminary data for 2015 shows a spike in the number of traffic deaths across the U.S. In total, the administration is reporting a 7.7 percent increase, with a 4 percent increase in truck-related fatal crashes.

Human error: A driving force behind many crashes

There are a number of reasons for truck accidents, including improper maintenance of the trucks, improperly loaded cargo or defective parts. While all of these causes could be avoided with proper maintenance and training, another area largely responsible for many crashes is human error.

For truck drivers, just like any other driver, some of the big mistakes we so often hear about are related to poor judgment, distractions and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. However, another area of concern is fatigued driving, as truck drivers tend to work long days and nights behind the wheel.

There are very specific rules truck drivers must follow when it comes to driving hours. These rules are slightly different depending on whether someone is a passenger-carrying driver or property-carrying driver. For example, if moving property, after 10 consecutive hours off, it is legal to drive for 11 hours. For those carrying passengers, after 8 hours off, it is OK to drive up to 10 hours.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration clearly lays out other driving rules too, regarding 14-hour limits, 15-hour limits and rest breaks. However, even though there are rules in place, some drivers will still bend the rules and drive outside the allowable hours.

Protect your rights after a truck crash

While these accidents are happening all throughout the country, those living near the West Texas oil fields and the Eagle Ford Shale formation should especially take note, as truck traffic tends to be heavier in the area as trucks come and go, moving oil and other supplies.

Those who are hurt in truck crashes -- or who lose a loved one -- are strongly encouraged to reach out to an attorney right away. The trucking company will no doubt have attorneys on its side. At The Law Offices of Miller & Bicklein, P.C., we strongly believe those hurt should also have fair and aggressive representation on their side.

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