In an official post on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the US Department of Transport (USDOT) declared that approximately 42,915 people died in traffic accidents last year. The total fatality in 2021 was higher than it had ever been before in the last 16 years. That is an alarming fact by itself, but things are looking even worse for truck fleet owners.
Why Commercial Truck Owners Must take Notice
In a year-on-year comparison, it was found that the rate of fatalities related to large, commercial truck accidents went up by 13% in 2021. While deaths caused by traffic accidents among pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists also went up in 2021, the increase in mortality rates was not as high in any of them. Although the exact numbers have not been published officially, the report is sufficient to establish the fact that traffic accidents involving one or more large trucks is a big problem right now.
Why are So Many Commercial Trucks Crashing?
In fact, some of the top factors responsible for large truck related crashes involve the actions of other drivers, riders, or pedestrians on the road. It means that even in cases where the truck driver was not at fault, they often ended up in the accident because of someone else’s negligence on the road. Let’s look at some the most prevalent issues that lead to big truck accidents next.
- Untrained or inadequately trained truck drivers.
- Overworked and tired truck drivers trying to skip sleep and then falling asleep at the wheel.
- Truck drivers speeding well beyond the legal limits to meet deadlines.
- Reckless, dangerous driving and speeding by drivers/riders on the road (all parties).
- Distracted drivers/riders/pedestrians on the road, engaged in calls, texts, media consumption, etc. (all parties).
- Driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol and/or drugs (all parties).
- Slippery, unsafe roads (all parties).
- Temporary aural and/or visual impairment (all parties).
- Strokes and heart attacks (all parties).
- How to Reduce Big Truck Accidents: The Two Big Steps
There are two primary steps that every fleet owner must take in 2022 if they wish to prevent their trucks from crashing so often. Every licensed driver on the road already knows or at least has a decent understanding of what the safety rules are, so there is no point in restating the obvious. Instead, fleet managers must focus their efforts and resources towards:
- Equipping their trucks with the latest Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) features.
- Training the truck drivers adequately, so that they can utilize ADAS features to optimize road safety and improve productivity.
There is certainly enough room to make improvements from the government’s end as well, but most of the effort must come from private fleet managers and truck drivers. The rules are already there to prevent such accidents, but they are not foolproof. The Department of Transport officially stated that multiple steps are being taken from their end to bring down crash rates across all states. We will just have to wait and see if any of their strategies worked in 2022.