Louisiana motorists need to exercise extra caution when on the road near big rigs. According to statistics this is a good idea, but the biggest danger may actually be of the small vehicle driver making a mistake rather than the trucker causing an accident. It might surprise many that automobile drivers are at fault in about 70 percent of accidents involving large trucks.
The U.S. Department of Labor says that large truck accidents are on the rise, with an estimated 475,000 big rigs being involved in accidents each year. Those accidents account for about 5,000 fatalities and 140,000 injuries annually. Many of these accidents are caused by drivers of automobiles who follow big rigs too closely. Drivers may be unaware that it takes extra time for large trucks to come to a stop, so rear-end collisions often occur. Head-on collisions with trucks are equally common.
Another factor in accidents, this time on the part of the trucker, is the day of the week. Statistically, Thursday is the most dangerous day for truckers. More accident fatalities occur on Thursdays than any other day of the week, with Friday following closely behind. Fatigue after a long work week is suspected of being to blame. Some other surprising statistics include the fact that fatal accidents occur mostly between 6 a.m. and 3 p.m and not after dark. Accidents are also more common on major roads, with fewer truck accidents occurring on freeways and interstates.
Truck driver fatigue is a persistent problem, especially when the carriers pressure their drivers into staying behind the wheel for long stretches in order to stay on schedule. A person who has been injured in an accident caused by a truck driver nodding off may want to have a lawyer's help in pursuing compensation for medical expenses and other applicable losses.