During holidays, there are masses of people on the roadways who are just as stressed as the next because of obligations, getting gifts, planning trips, getting home as well as a variety of other reasons. This heightened sense of other responsibilities contributes to more drivers becoming distracted on overly crowded roads. In fact the US Department of Transportation has said that there is a 23 percent travel increase over the holiday season and consequently, December is the leading month for auto accidents. On Christmas Day alone, there is an average of 400 car accident fatalities in the United States. When you think about that number and the reasons for motorists to be distracted and stressed during the holidays, one can only imagine the stressed that is piled on top of truck drivers.
Loads on freight trucks can reach as high as 22 tons. These large freight trucks or smaller carrier trucks work on tight deadlines as gifts, decorations, food and all other essentials to the holiday season are ordered on constricted schedules. Next day delivery or even same day deliveries can be extremely stressful for exhausted drivers. This year, FedEx alone says it will ship a record 317 million packages between Black Friday and Christmas Eve, up 12.4 percent from last year .
Reasons for Truck Accidents
- Seasonal Traffic: With more people on the road to visit family and friends, the road is crowded with passenger cars, motorcycles and trucks. Most of these individuals are traveling longer distances than usual to visit their loved ones. The parties, long travel plans and late night get-togethers mixed with heavy freight trucks can lead to accidents because of distracted driving, fatigued driving and drunk driving.
- Constricted Schedules: The promise of faster deliveries for modern convenience takes a toll on truck drivers who have to make the seemingly impossible, possible. During this congested time of year, where the roads are so busy, drivers of all experience levels may be drawn to speed or go without sleep in order to meet the demands set forth by their employers.
- Seasonal Stress: The stress of the hectic holiday season with preparations, family visits and much of what has been already mentioned takes a toll on all drivers. Road rage and holiday–related stress causes anxious drivers to participate in dangerous driving behaviors. Studies show that at least 1,500 people are injured or killed in road rage accidents each year .
- Illness: Just as everyone is lining up at local pharmacies or medical offices for their seasonal flu shot, many who do not or who do so and still end up with an illness because of the change in weather, fatigue and stress are on the road—including truck drivers. Having an illness can affect the driver because of the health toll on the body, the pressure to deliver or take on someone else’s sick days, specific medications and a variety of other factors.
- Seasonal Workers: Many companies use temporary workers during the holidays to help with a busy shipping season. This can lead to employers failing to take the time to properly train workers on standards important for overall safety. Large freight trucks with up to 22 tons of material and supplies can be improperly loaded, leading to loss of cargo or shift of cargo. Therefore, trucks may roll over or be pulled over at weighing stations if the cargo exceeds legal weight limits.
- Defective Trucks-Accidents can also happen due to defectively designed or manufactured vehicles or vehicle equipment. Over the holiday season, where trucks are used more frequently, stretching across hundreds of miles, damaged trucks or trucks with faulty equipment can cause incidents. Weather conditions that vary from state to state combined with older trucks can also lead to potential accidents.
Accident statistics during the holidays show that Thanksgiving leading up to New Years are the most dangerous times to travel when it comes to fatal crashes. If you have plans to travel this holiday season it is safe to be aware of the precautions that go along with seasonal travel.
Trucks are constantly bombarded with demanding schedules that need to be completed for customers to be happy across the nation. Cutting them off, not giving them space or driving dangerously can all be factors in accidents caused by careless driving. By being a safe driver and knowing the reasons as to why holiday-related trucking accidents happen, you can be sure to have a safe holiday season sharing the road with trucks.
Dolman Law Group
In the event that you are involved in a truck accident, regardless of the efforts to be safe, the experienced truck accident attorneys at Dolman Law Group know how to handle your case.
It is highly advisable for anyone who has been injured in a truck accident to retain legal counsel as soon as he or she is able. While it is possible to obtain compensation for losses without an attorney, the assistance of a lawyer can often have a significant impact on the amount you ultimately recover. Trucking companies and their insurers are well-aware of the fact that they operate in a high-risk industry and are ready to vigorously defend claims and minimize payouts.
As a result, victims should retain an attorney who understands how the trucking industry operates and has experience litigating trucking accident claims.
Anyone who has been injured in a truck accident should retain legal counsel as soon as possible. To schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys, call our office today at (727) 853-6275.
Dolman Law Group
5435 Main Street
New Port Richey, FL 34652