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Trucking Accidents What Are They & How To Prevent Them

Trucking Accidents 

There are too many trucking accidents out on the road.  According to the most recent data from the FMSCA, there were 97,000 truck/bus injury collisions and 4,311 fatalities in 2015. One is too many. 

We’ve been taught to believe that accidents are random events, but that’s not true.  There are actually four things that make up an accident.  An accident is:

  1. An unplanned event
  2. That disrupts activity
  3. That involves or affects people
  4. That has a cause

Accidents are unplanned.

Nobody decides to have an accident.  If accidents were intentional or planned, they wouldn’t be accidents; they would just be ridiculous behavior.  The truth is accidents happen because we're human and humans make mistakes.  Accidents are driver mistakes.

Accidents disrupt normal activities.

They slow us, and sometimes others, down. When we have an accident, we have to stop what we’re doing and deal with the problems caused by the accident.  Think of the disruption that comes from just a minor collision:

  • Police to document what happened, or EMS to make sure no one’s hurt.
  • Traffic slows behind you, maybe to a stand-still.
  • Dispatch will have to be notified.
  • The load will be delayed.
  • Maintenance will have to make repairs and a claims representative will have to deal with managing the loss.

Even a minor collision ties up the time and energy of a lot of people.

Accidents involve and affect people.

When accidents happen, someone gets hurt or someone’s property is damaged.  Or people are delayed and inconvenienced. Accidents also involve people, because people cause all accidents. Studies have proven that parked trucks do not have accidents; it takes people.

All accidents are caused.

Accidents are caused when people take risks.

Most people think accidents just happen, a nuisance we have to put up with like thunderstorms and mosquitoes. But there’s good news: that isn’t true.  Accidents are all caused, and that means if we can find the cause, we can correct it and avoid accidents.  At AvatarFleet, that’s what safety is all about - eliminating accidents.

What Causes Accidents?

People cause accidents.  Sometimes, it’s just an innocent mistake.  After all, we’re not perfect and sometimes we miss things going on around us. It happens to all of us.

But, most accidents happen when people choose to accept too much risk. We look at a situation and decide to “take a chance.”  Like running a yellow light, or rolling through a stop sign, or driving over the speed limit.  These are all unsafe behaviors that cause accidents.

Preventing Accidents:

Safe, professional truck drivers who have completed our A-Fleet Training know what accidents are and what causes them.  They follow a two-step process to avoid accidents:

  1. They look for risk
  2. They make good choices to avoid risk

Because accidents are caused, they can be prevented. The whole point of learning about accidents is learning how to stop them in the first place.  Accidents are unplanned events, but they’re not random. There’s nothing random about making a bad choice  Bad choices lead to unsafe behaviors which can cause accidents.

For example, crashing into the back of a vehicle from behind is a common vehicular collision, but it only happens when someone has made a bad choice.  It only happens when someone chooses to follow too closely. If you want to eliminate accidents, you have to pay attention, make good choices and avoid unsafe behaviors. 

The most common accidents involving tractor-trailers include:

  • Rear-end collisions
  • Intersection collisions
  • Backing collisions
  • Hitting fixed objects

These accidents are all caused by unsafe behaviors. That means you can avoid them.  Your drivers always have a choice.  A-Fleet training teaches them how to make the safe choice.  Drivers learn how to identify and avoid risk when changing lanes, backing up, clearing intersections, turning right or left, driving on a highway, driving around bicyclists and pedestrians and hundreds of other situations. Accidents are not accidental.  You can eliminate accidents and make more money through better truck driver training.

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