Commercial trucks play a significant role in the New Jersey economy. According to the state’s Department of Transportation, of the over 600 million tons of goods moved each year, 75% are moved by truck. With so many trucks on the road, accidents are bound to occur.
Truck accidents are often devastating as the sheer size of these vehicles makes them difficult to slow or control. In the US in 2021, there were 5,788 people killed in traffic crashes involving large trucks.
Truck accident causes vary, but several common causes often result in harmful collisions. Familiarizing yourself with some of these common issues may help you stay safer while driving throughout the state.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents in New Jersey
It is hard to predict when an accident will occur. But knowing the common causes of truck accidents promotes awareness and safety.
If you have ever had to drive after a long day or been responsible for the boring leg of a road trip, you understand that drivers get tired. Because fatigued truck drivers are such a hazard, federal laws mandate rest breaks and limit the number of consecutive hours a driver can spend behind the wheel.
Stopping a speeding passenger vehicle is difficult, but it is nearly impossible to stop a large speeding truck quickly, given its size and weight. Truck accidents involving high rates of speed are especially dangerous and likely to result in catastrophic injuries.
Texting while driving has become a serious problem over the past two decades and is one of the most common causes of truck accidents in New Jersey. Changing the radio station, eating, reaching for things on the passenger seat or in the glove compartment, and many other distractions often lead to collisions.
Unbalanced Cargo Load
The cargo in the trailer must be properly balanced and secured according to industry regulations. Unbalanced loads can cause the trailer to tip and potentially fall into the road or onto another vehicle. This is especially concerning around corners and going up or down hills. Some companies use third-party cargo loaders to ensure this is done correctly.
Truck drivers are legally required to perform pre and post-trip inspections to ensure their vehicle runs properly. A driver must address any indication of an issue, such as check engine, low coolant, or tire pressure alerts must be addressed before continuing. However, some issues are hard to detect and may occur on the road or in a place that only a mechanic would notice.
Defective Equipment or Parts
Passenger vehicles occasionally have defective and recalled parts, and the same is true for trucks. Defective parts can cause major vehicle malfunctions that lead to accidents and injuries on the road.
Driving Under the Influence
Unfortunately, driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is one of the most common truck accident causes. Both substances can negatively impact a driver’s reaction time and ability to make intelligent decisions.
The weather can be unpredictable and make driving difficult, but the actual maintenance of the road can also impact driving safety. Huge potholes can cause blow-outs, and blocked or malfunctioning traffic signs can result in collisions.
Safety on the Road
Knowing the common truck accident causes in New Jersey can help you know what to look for, but here are a few additional tips to help you stay safe.
- Make sure you can see the driver’s side mirror because if you cannot see them, they cannot see you;
- Do not pass on the right side of the truck, as the driver will likely not see you;
- Do not follow too close to a truck, be sure to give it space; and
- Anticipate that these vehicles will make wide turns and adjust appropriately.
Make sure to buckle up and be patient.
Contact Petro Cohen, P.C.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a trucking accident, it is important to know your rights. The attorneys at Petro Cohen, P.C. have been serving New Jersey personal injury victims for decades, and we understand what it takes to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us to schedule your case consultation.