With construction sites popping up all over the place, it's no wonder that there are so many accidents involving construction trucks. While some of these accidents are due to driver error, many are actually caused by mechanical problems with the truck itself. Here are the most common causes of construction truck accidents, based on data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
1. Poor Vehicle Maintenance
Construction vehicles, like any other vehicle on the road, require regular maintenance in order to function properly. Poorly maintained trucks can malfunction and cause serious accidents. Additionally, many construction trucks are rented or leased, so it is the responsibility of the company to ensure they remain in proper working order. For example, brakes and tires should be regularly inspected to ensure they are in good condition.
2. Mechanical Failure
Mechanical failures can occur suddenly, leaving the driver with no time to prevent a collision from occurring. Common mechanical failures include engine problems, transmission issues, brake failure, and tire blowouts. Again, proper maintenance of the vehicle is crucial for avoiding such accidents. Additionally, the driver should be trained to recognize signs of mechanical failure and react accordingly. Also, it's important for the driver to stay up-to-date on all vehicle recalls, to ensure their truck is not at risk of mechanical failure.
3. Unsecured Loads
Unsecured loads pose a major safety hazard, as they can shift during transit and cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle. The Department of Transportation requires that all construction trucks have loads properly secured before driving them on public roads. Additionally, drivers should be aware of any potential hazards that may arise from an unsecured load, such as debris falling into the road or objects striking other vehicles. Drivers should also check the weight and balance of their trucks before heading out onto the road.
4. Driver Error
Unfortunately, driver error is one of the leading causes of construction truck accidents. Many drivers fail to check their blind spots before making a turn, resulting in catastrophic collisions with other vehicles and pedestrians. Drivers should also be aware of the speed limit at all times, as going too fast can make it difficult to stop in time to avoid an accident. Additionally, distracted driving due to the use of cell phones or eating while driving can be dangerous and needs to be avoided.
5. Overloaded Trucks
When a truck is overloaded with materials, it can become considerably harder to maintain control. Unfortunately, this is often seen on construction sites where large amounts of materials have been loaded onto the back of a truck without being properly secured. According to the pros at Reyes Law, this can lead to an unstable center of gravity and cause the truck to tip over if it takes a sharp turn or hits a bump in the road. Also, overloaded trucks have a higher risk of experiencing mechanical failure due to the added strain placed on the truck's components.
6. Excessive Speeds
Construction sites are often hectic environments, with workers trying to get things done as quickly as possible. This can lead to drivers taking risks while operating construction trucks, such as speeding or making quick turns. Such maneuvers increase the likelihood of an accident occurring and can have deadly consequences for both the driver and pedestrians in the vicinity. The drivers should be aware of the speed limit at all times and always drive with caution.
7. Poorly Trained Drivers
Driving a construction truck is not like driving a regular car or truck. Construction vehicles require skill and knowledge that must be acquired through proper training. Unfortunately, many companies fail to train their drivers properly, resulting in more accidents on the road. It is essential that all drivers receive the necessary training and certifications to ensure they can safely operate a construction vehicle.
8. Driver Fatigue
Construction sites often require long hours of operation as projects need to be completed quickly and efficiently. As such, drivers may become fatigued due to lack of sleep or long workdays. This is especially dangerous when operating heavy machinery like construction trucks, as fatigue can significantly impair judgment and reaction time while on the road. It is important that drivers take breaks when needed and get a full night of sleep before driving again.
9. Poor Road Conditions
Construction sites often have to drive on roads that are in poor condition due to construction work or inclement weather. Such roads can make it difficult for drivers to maintain control of their vehicles, as potholes, debris, and slippery surfaces can cause the truck to skid or spin out of control. Additionally, construction sites may be located in areas with limited visibility, making it harder for drivers to spot potential hazards. Drivers should always exercise caution when operating on roads with poor conditions.
Construction truck accidents can be caused by a variety of factors, including driver error, overloaded trucks, excessive speeds, and poor road conditions. It is important for drivers to be aware of these dangers and take steps to avoid them while on the road. Drivers should also receive proper training and certification before operating a construction truck. By following these safety tips, we can help reduce the number of accidents that occur on construction sites every year.