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Causes of Truck Accidents

Thousands of truck accidents happen annually across America, most involving large trucks hitting smaller vehicles or pedestrians. Over half of fatal tractor-trailer crashes involving large trucks occur during daylight hours.

While most car accidents involve only minor injuries, trucking companies must ensure that their drivers stay safe while driving semi-tractor trailers.

All truck drivers must undergo a rigorous training before being allowed behind the wheel. Unfortunately, many commercially licensed drivers need to complete these safety courses properly.

Were you involved in a truck accident and feel overwhelmed about who was responsible for causing the crash, how much you could receive from the insurance company, and what to do next? The personal injury attorneys at Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC can investigate what happened, review the evidence and police report, and build a case to ensure you receive the financial compensation you deserve.

Contact our truck accident lawyers at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today for immediate legal advice and schedule a free consultation.

Types Of Truck Accidents

The Large Truck Crash Causation Study - Analysis Brief

This truck accident study analyzed data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), detailing every fatality resulting from an accident involving a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). A CMV is a vehicle carrying 16 or more passengers or weighing 10,001 pounds.

Approximately one-third of fatal truck accidents involve alcohol impairment, while another third involves drug or medical conditions.

There were 8,812 large truck injury crashes reported in 2017. Of those, 2,947 resulted in injuries, 718 in fatalities, and 5,743 in no injuries.

What Types of Vehicles Affect the Common Causes of Truck Accidents?

There are many different types of vehicles that cause accidents, including:

  • Passenger vehicles
  • Light trucks
  • Motorcycles
  • Bicycles
  • Farm equipment
  • Construction machinery
  • Dump trucks
  • Semi-trucks
  • Buses
  • Pedestrians

Each type of vehicle has unique characteristics that make most truck accidents dangerous. For example, large trucks often weigh hundreds of thousands of pounds and can easily overturn. They also travel faster than an average passenger car, which can increase the risk of serious injuries.

Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents

Trucking companies are responsible for transporting goods and hazardous materials across the nation utilizing various vehicles, including delivery trucks and semi-tractor trailers. They do this by hauling cargo across state lines and even international borders.

Commercial trucks are big machines that carry heavy loads over long distances. These large rigs are often driven by professional truck drivers who work for one of the major freight carriers.

Unfortunately, there are still some common causes of truck accidents that can happen to anyone.

Driver Fatigue

Experienced drivers operating company vehicles must pay attention to every traffic situation, including following the posted speed limits and state and federal regulations that manage the trucking industry.

Fatigued driving can lead to severe crashes with property damage and cause:

  • Internal injuries
  • Broken bones
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Back and neck injuries
  • Traumatic brain damage
  • Wrongful death

Overtaking Vehicles

Overtaking another vehicle at high speeds is dangerous because truckers are often disadvantaged due to blind spots and other factors. An accident caused by overtaking other passenger vehicles and trucks could leave the driver and victims with horrific injuries.

Poor Road Conditions

Roadways aren't always perfectly smooth. Sometimes, they have potholes, bumps, and cracks. When driving, you want to avoid hitting anything that could damage your rig.

Driver Error

A recent study found that driver error is the leading cause of fatalities involving commercial motor vehicle accidents. Commercial drivers must always keep safety as one of their primary concerns.

Anyone in the trucking industry must follow all federal regulations concerning hours of service, rest periods, and drug testing. These rules help ensure safe transportation for everyone involved.

Accidents caused by service violations could hold all liable parties accountable including the truck driver, trucking company, or even a third party like an independently operated semi.

Poor Vehicle Maintenance

Poor vehicle maintenance can lead to dangerous driving conditions. It could even cause fatal crashes. A University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute study found that drivers are less likely to take precautions because they don't think about how equipment failure, worn tires, or mechanical failure could lead to a catastrophic accident with the most severe injuries.

Improper Cargo Loading

Poor cargo loading on a big rig truck can cause many errors. Some common examples include:

  • Overloading occurs when too much weight is placed on one side of the truck.
  • Underloading happens when too little weight is placed on the truck.
  • Wrong type of cargo for the vehicle could lead to a severe truck accident.

Safety measures are available to prevent proper cargo loading, but it's important to know what those measures are before moving the truck from the loading dock.

Poor Weather Conditions

Winter storms are much worse than summertime thunderstorms because truckers and passenger car drivers don't always prepare themselves properly. Winter storms bring snow, ice, sleet, freezing rain, high winds, and low visibility, leading to many truck accidents yearly.

Adverse weather conditions make it harder for truckers and other drivers to see hazards like potholes, fallen trees, animals, debris, and each other.

Intoxicated Semi-Truck Drivers

Commercial drivers are required to keep blood alcohol levels at 0.04% or lower. Truck drivers could also lose their commercial driver's license and be fined up to $2500.

A trucker who drives over 0.08% could lose their job or go to jail. Truck drivers convicted of operating a motor vehicle with a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) of 0.08% or greater face mandatory suspension of their commercial driver's license.

Reckless Driving

Truck companies are cracking down on truck drivers who drink and drive by acting against those who cause accidents and put themselves and others at risk. Data reveals that reckless driving causes more accidents than combined driver mistakes and distracted driving.

Any truck accident involving reckless or aggressive driving places everyone at risk and creates a liability issue for the truck driver, trucking company, and others, especially in a fatal truck/car accident.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is among the common causes of truck accidents.

Some of those deaths could have been avoided had the truck driver or other drivers kept their eyes on the road instead of on a cell phone.

Data shows that talking and texting on smartphones cause more distracted driving than any other issue when operating a large commercial truck.

Commercial vehicle drivers often text while operating heavy equipment, and it's easy to become engrossed in social media apps.

Unrealistic Time Constraints

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that drivers often need to be made aware of how long it takes to reach certain destinations.

For example, according to NHTSA data, the average trip duration for passenger cars is just over 20 minutes, while the average trip duration for a commercial truck is nearly 30 minutes.

The time difference in reaching a destination in a passenger vehicle compared to a semi means that truck drivers frequently operate under unrealistic time constraints.

Poor Driver Training

A recent study found that poor training is not necessarily among the leading common causes of truck accidents but rather a symptom of an underlying issue. It could even be used as a predictor of future riskier behavior.

Problems Braking

A truck driver should always maintain enough space in front or behind other vehicles, including cars, motorcycles, bicycles, and other large objects. The truck driver should be aware of pedestrians and others in the area, especially during poor weather conditions.

Blind Spots

Most truck accidents occur on America's busiest roadways during daylight hours. Many of these trucking accidents involve large tractor-trailer trucks designed to carry cargo long distances.

Motorists operating passenger cars following a truck must know about blind spots to protect everyone sharing the road.

Truck Driver Accident Statistics

Truck accidents are one of the leading causes of death among commercial vehicle operators.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nearly 3,200 people died in crashes involving large trucks in 2019 alone.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) collects data about fatal large truck accidents. In 2020, there were 4,972 truck fatalities, up 5% from 2015. Large trucks involved in crashes led to 3,011 deaths.

In 2020, fatal truck accidents dropped to 3,698—a decrease of 3%, involving all commercial trucks. However, the total number of large truck crashes rose from 10,086 to 11,095, representing an increase of 7%, according to the agency.

What to Do After a Truck Accident

The sheer size and weight of semi-tractor-trailers can create catastrophic damage in most truck accidents.

After a truck accident, taking care of yourself first is important. Call 911 immediately for immediate medical attention if you don't feel well. The rushing adrenaline in the moments after an accident may hide a devastating problem that might not be apparent without the best diagnostic equipment and tests.

Although the common causes of truck accidents leave the police to determine who is at fault, there may be extenuating circumstances that led to the crash involving the other driver.

Hiring an attorney protects your rights to the legal process and ensures that you and every other family member involved in the crash receive maximum compensation for damages.

Hire Our Truck Accident Attorneys

At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our personal injury lawyers work hard to ensure our clients receive fair compensation for injuries sustained due to another person's negligence.

We are committed to providing quality representation and support throughout every process.

Call a truck accident lawyer from our law office at (888) 424-5757 to schedule a free consultation.

Our attorneys investigate truck accident cases to hold the trucker, trucking company, and other car drivers financially responsible for damages.


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