Most drivers in Georgia have probably noticed the yellow caution signs that depict a tractor-trailer up on two wheels, about to tip over. According to American International Group, Inc., accidents involving large truck and tanker truck rollovers occur at an alarming rate: about 1,800 per year.
Perhaps even more alarming, statistics reported by ATBS indicate that roughly 75 percent of rollovers are attributed to truck driver error. These errors are not primarily new drivers, either. About 66 percent of all rollovers involve truck drivers who have at least 10 years of experience.
Why do rollovers happen?
Brake defects contribute to more than half of the accidents, although this is not always the only factor. Tanker trucks are more likely to roll if they have a partial load, as the shifting liquid can throw off the balance of the tank and cause tipping.
Going back to the issue of driver error, though, statistics show that rollovers are often preceded by a trucker's actions after succumbing to distractions or drowsiness. Making mistakes such as turning incorrectly or running up onto a curb also causes many rollovers.
How can drivers avoid rollovers?
It is the trucker's responsibility to make sure the vehicle is in safe condition before setting out for a day's drive. If a thorough inspection is completed, issues with brakes, steering, tires and other systems can be caught before they cause a fatal accident.
The federal hours-of-service regulations are designed to ensure that truckers spend enough time resting between shifts. Healthy sleep is vital to prevent fatigue-related crashes.
Because shifting loads contribute so much to truck rollovers, understanding proper loading technique is essential for drivers, whether they are the ones doing the loading or not.
Perhaps most important, truckers should put away cellphones and other distractions and remain alert at all times.