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What Causes Colorado Springs Truck Accidents?

by | Jan 18, 2022 | Trucking Accidents

Best Truck Accident Attorneys in Colorado Springs

Trucks play an essential part in the daily lives of Colorado Springs residents as well as the local economy. You’ll see trucks of different shapes, sizes, and functions driving through Colorado Springs.

Trucks pick up and drop off cargo containers with a variety of commodities, materials, and petrochemical products as they pass through Port Colorado Springs. Tractor-trailers travel through Colorado Springs on routes such as the I-610 Loop, I-45, and I-69, passing through on their way to distant destinations or exiting to deliver their cargoes to local companies.

Smaller trucks weave their way through Colorado Springs communities like Sharpstown, Woodland Heights, and Pecan Park, delivering online orders, cleaning up trash, and stocking local stores’ shelves.

Our dependence on trucks for business and convenience, however, has an unavoidable cost: truck accidents. Every year, Colorado Springs residents are injured or killed in truck accidents of various sizes.

That isn’t to say that we should accept the expense as set in stone. We can do our part to reduce the toll of truck accidents in Colorado Springs by knowing what causes them and remaining informed about the aspects of the city’s roadways and driving culture that put us, our loved ones, friends, and neighbors at danger of being injured in a truck accident.

In this blog article, we’ll break down the causes of truck accidents in Colorado Springs in the hopes of better understanding why they happen and what we can do to mitigate their effect on our families and communities.

What the Data Says About Truck Accidents in Colorado Springs

We can’t address an issue as serious as truck accidents in Colorado Springs without first determining the scope of the problem. We can assess the challenges at hand thanks to annual crash reports from the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT).

The Figures

According to CDOT annual reporting data, 4,915 commercial motor car (CMV) crashes occurred in Harris County in the most recent year reported, resulting in 46 deaths, 121 serious injuries, 450 non-incapacitating injuries, and 1,333 suspected injuries.

We can see from CRIS data that the majority of the CMV crashes in Colorado Springs that year that resulted in injuries or fatalities—at least 850 of them—involved truck crashes of various shapes and sizes, such as delivery vans, box trucks, and tractor-trailers.

The Points of Interest

We can also identify hot spots on Colorado Springs-area roads where motorists face an especially high risk of being involved in a truck crash by plotting CRIS data for fatal and injury-involved truck crashes in Colorado Springs over the most recent reporting year.

Anyone who has driven in Colorado Springs lately knows that multi-lane roads, particularly the I-610 Loop and sections of I-10, are the most dangerous places for truck accidents. Every day of the week, Colorado Springs roadways witness near-constant, intense traffic.

Still, assuming that avoiding the roadways in Colorado Springs would keep you safe from truck accidents would be a possibly fatal error. That is not the case! You’re never more than a stone’s throw away from a route in Colorado Springs where a truck accident has occurred in the last year or two. Truck collisions have occurred in even the quietest Colorado Springs areas, injuring or killing motorists, bikers, and pedestrians.

The High Price

We’re writing about truck accidents in Colorado Springs because they’ve happened close to home, causing devastation on the lives of victims, their families, and their communities.

Every year, hundreds of individuals are killed in truck accidents in and around Colorado Springs, as we said before. Worse, that tragic toll is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the harm caused by truck accidents in Colorado Springs.

Those who are fortunate enough to escape a collision may nonetheless suffer severe or life-altering injuries, such as:

Head injuries from a traumatic event

Injuries to the spine

Limbs and appendages crushed

Amputations due to trauma or medical necessity

Burns

Toxic exposures and cargo spills cause illness.

Internal injuries that be life-threatening

Wounds that are still open

Back and neck problems

Orthopedic injury and broken bones

The list might go on forever. Truck accidents in Colorado Springs may result in almost any kind of harm, including not just physical pain and impairment, but also significant emotional anguish for victims and their loved ones.

Not only that, but there’s more. Truck accidents in Colorado Springs can have a significant financial impact on local companies and households. TxDOT estimates that motor car accidents (including truck accidents) cost Colorado residents, companies, and government $43 billion per year. Truck accident injuries cause enormous, unexpected bills while also robbing victims of their income. They almost always lead to financial catastrophe.

Let’s look at the causes of truck accidents in Colorado Springs, shall we?

We understand that truck accidents are common in Colorado Springs, and that they are expensive to residents, businesses, and the city as a whole. So, what are our options for dealing with them?

Understanding how they occur is the first step. We look to CRIS data once again to assist us comprehend what we’re up against.

Unsurprisingly, the great majority of Colorado Springs truck accidents are caused by human error, according to an examination of the reasons identified in the last year. A large portion of this mistake occurs during the operation of a truck or other cars that share the road with trucks. Some include mistakes made by mechanics, manufacturers, and others early in the chain of events that lead to a collision.

Here are some of the main causes of truck collisions in Colorado Springs that we discovered in the CRIS data (as well as a few that we didn’t, but know from experience likely had a factor!)

Departures, merges, and lane changes that aren’t safe

The archetypal 800-pound gorillas of the open road are trucks. They go where they want, and the rest of us must make space if we can.

On a congested Colorado Springs roadway, though, there just isn’t enough space for any car, much alone a large truck. In heavy traffic on I-610 and other surrounding highways, a truck that unsafely changes lanes, drifts out of its lane, or merges into a lane risks causing an accident by pushing smaller cars off the road, forcing them to engage in risky evasive maneuvers that cause wrecks, or even running them over.

Why do truck drivers put their rigs in perilous situations? They can’t always prevent it, such as when a merging lane comes to an end and they have no option but to squeeze into a travel lane. However, the majority of the time they wreck their trucks because of a mistake, such as failing to maintain situational awareness, losing track of smaller cars in their blind zones, or driving while impaired by drugs, alcohol, or weariness.

Incorrect Turns and Dangerous Backing

However, it’s not simply trucks requiring more space on Colorado Springs roads that cause collisions. Their drivers must also be able to handle a truck in confined locations. Truck accidents occur when drivers fail to maneuver their rigs in a way that takes into consideration the rig’s ungainly size. Truck drivers, for example, find it difficult to make left and right turns at junctions.

When performing a turn, a truck need a wide berth. If you make the turn too quickly, you’ll cut the corner and end up rolling across neighboring traffic lanes, a curb, a sidewalk, or your front yard. If you take it too wide at a busy crossroads, you risk crushing a smaller car.

The same is true when it comes to backing up. When driving in reverse, truckers are blind unless they have a backup camera fitted in their trucks (which most do not). They can only rely on their side mirrors for guidance, and even those create vast blind areas. If you back up too far, you risk colliding with a stationary item, a car, or even a person.

Speeds that are too fast

If you’ve ever seen a truck speeding down a lonely stretch of I-10 in West Colorado, you know how quickly a big rig can travel when there’s space to go. Sharing a road with a huge truck moving at 70 miles per hour or more is rather terrifying.

At that pace, the truck will require hundreds of yards to come to a controlled, emergency stop, and that distance will increase if the road surface is slippery from morning dew or a recent rain shower. When a truck travelling at full speed on the highway finds an unexpected delay or impediment and is unable to stop in time to avoid colliding, deadly rear-end crashes may occur.

Trucks moving at high speeds aren’t the only ones that run the danger of colliding in Colorado Springs. As many of us have seen personally, highway speed on a busy section of I-610 may be as low as 40 MPH. Even at that reduced speed, a truck need significantly more space to slow down than a passenger car to prevent a collision.

Trucks have a hard time handling severe highway bends and on-and-off ramps at anything faster than a crawl. Trucks have a high center of gravity, which makes them prone to turning over if drivers approach a curve too quickly.

Defects and Failures in Truck Equipment

Trucks transport loads of freight (literally!) across long distances. They take a lot of punishment. Their equipment requires periodic maintenance and care, and fleet owners and operators must ensure that their fleet is in good working order. A truck failure on a Colorado Springs road at the wrong time might result in a crash!

The following components of trucks may have harmful faults or excessive wear and tear:

Tires

Hydraulics and truck-trailer connections

Brakes

Safety mirrors, cameras, and other devices

Stabilizers and load tie-downs

Truck and trailer maintenance is, unfortunately, sometimes a leap of faith. Trucks built, owned, and operated by one set of firms connect to trailers and cargo built, owned, and operated by another group of organizations.

If just one party fails to perform their part in planning, installing, and maintaining safe equipment, the whole rig’s safety and dependability might be thrown out the window, placing not just the driver but also the general population in Colorado Springs at danger of a collision.

Fatigue in Truck Drivers

Do you want to hear something terrifying? The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) conducted a comprehensive survey of long-haul truck drivers a while back, and found that the majority of truck drivers have felt fatigued while driving, with nearly two-thirds of them believing they were in danger of falling asleep at the wheel!

That’s not all, however.

Approximately one-fifth of truck drivers reported feeling tired on most or all of their trips.

12.5 percent of truckers said they experienced heavy eyelids all of the time when driving, while 52.1 percent said they had heavy eyelids sometimes.

While driving, 11.1 percent felt sleepy often, and 53.9 percent felt drowsy sometimes.

8.4 percent said it was difficult to stay awake when driving on a regular basis, while 43.4 percent said it was difficult on sometimes.

6.4 percent reported trouble staying awake on a regular basis, while 37.9% had trouble on sometimes.

These results were as unexpected as they were unsettling. Truckers work long, unpredictable hours as a group, often driving late at night and early in the morning when their bodies tell them they should be sleeping.

Truck drivers are also in bad condition (obesity is a big issue), and many do not have health insurance (which means their health problems go largely unaddressed.) Sleep quality and quantity are affected by trucker health. Half of the participants in the research said they didn’t get enough sleep before driving their routes.

Fatigue is incredibly hazardous and may quickly result in a Colorado Springs truck accident. In fact, studies show that going 18 hours without sleep impairs your driving skills about as much as having a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05 percent (which is above the legal limit for truck drivers), and that going 24 hours without sleep impairs your driving skills about as much as being legally intoxicated!

Federal and state hours-of-service restrictions aim to reduce trucker fatigue by limiting the amount of time a driver may spend behind the wheel at different intervals. Those rules, on the other hand, are only a band-aid on a bullet wound. Truckers continue to drive while fatigued, putting themselves and others on the road in danger.

Victims of a truck accident in Colorado Springs have rights, regardless of the cause.

Contact a competent truck accident injury lawyer immediately for a free consultation to learn about your rights after being injured in a Colorado Springs-area truck accident.

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Colorado Springs, CO 80904

719-300-1100

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