What Is the Most Common Cause of a Truck Accident?
Anyone who spends a significant amount of time on the road will eventually encounter a truck accident. Crashes involving large trucks are often horrific, resulting in serious injuries to all parties involved. While there are many causes of truck accidents, truck driver error is the most frequently cited cause.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) found that 88% of truck accidents were caused by driver error. Keep reading to learn about how human error can cause collisions and other common causes of truck accidents.
Causes of Truck Accidents
Truck Driver Error
Despite best efforts to incentivize safe driving behavior, human error will always cause collisions. Many things can go wrong when operating large trucks at high speeds.
Even the most diligent truck driver can make a mistake that has serious consequences. The following causes of truck accidents all fall under the umbrella of human error:
Drivers of passenger cars are not the only ones who can be distracted at the wheel. Even commercially licensed drivers can find themselves colliding with other drivers after a glance at their cell phones.
Truck drivers working for large trucking companies face severe penalties for distracted driving, but many truck accidents still occur each year due to distracted truck drivers. In an attempt to discourage texting and driving, many commercial trucks and delivery trucks have interior cameras to monitor whether a driver is engaging in dangerous behaviors, like texting while driving.
Disregarding State and Federal Regulations
One of many common causes of truck accidents resulting in fatalities involves commercial vehicle drivers not obeying posted speed limits. When truck drivers speed, they put themselves and everyone else on the road at risk. Large trucks simply can’t stop as quickly as commuter vehicles if an emergency arises.
Every trucking company discourages truck drivers from going over the speed limit. Some truck companies even install governors that limit the top speed the semi can reach.
Intoxicated Truck Drivers
In Kansas, commercial drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .04% or greater are considered to be driving under the influence. Truck drivers face severe consequences for operating a semi-truck while under the influence of alcohol or other mind-altering substances.
Intoxicated driving is a common cause of fatal crashes. Collisions involving trucks and alcohol consumption often result in catastrophic injuries and can instantly ruin lives.
The current shortage of qualified operators makes companies desperate for individuals willing to drive long distances. Unfortunately, this shortage has meant that some individuals hit the road without proper training.
Inexperienced truck drivers may have good intentions but cannot operate a vehicle safely on the road. This inexperience puts everyone around them in harm’s way.
Mechanical problems can contribute to large truck crashes, with one of the more common causes of truck collisions being brake problems. When brake failure causes a rig to lose its braking ability, any other vehicles nearby are at risk of being struck since the driver cannot stop.
Tractor trailers also frequently experience tire problems, resulting in a blowout. Discarded rubber from a blown-out tire can strike passenger vehicles or remain on the road, causing a traffic situation as cars try to avoid hitting it.
Poor Weather Conditions
Both commercial drivers and passenger car drivers are at risk of being inconvenienced by poor weather conditions. Unfortunately, unlike drivers operating passenger vehicles, truck drivers have to complete their routes even when the weather is treacherous.
Individual truck owners may be even more likely to try to drive in inclement weather than those who work for truck companies. Owner-operators are under a great deal of pressure to deliver their shipment promptly, if only to make ends meet, which means they might risk driving in dangerous weather conditions.
Commercial vehicle drivers work long hours. Unfortunately, it’s common to hear of an accident involving falling asleep at the wheel or accidents caused by delayed reaction time. Although there are legal limits to how long an operator can drive, eye strain and stressful traffic can tire even the most diligent individual.
Truck drivers work long hours, and fatigue is a common cause of poor decision-making on the road. Trucks aren’t easy to operate, and navigating freeways full of other travelers requires the driver to be alert and ready to react to any situation.
Encountering something unexpected on the road is stressful enough in a passenger vehicle. However, encountering hazards when there are large trucks involved can result in severe injuries.
A tractor-trailer can’t maneuver around a piece of debris the way a smaller vehicle can. Instead, the semi-truck will often have to strike the object, which can send it sailing. When objects become airborne, third parties can be at risk of injury.
Poor Vehicle Maintenance
The most common causes of mechanical issues contributing to trucking accidents can be prevented with proper vehicle maintenance. Truck accident cases involving poor vehicle maintenance are often easy to win since truck drivers are legally responsible for performing regular inspections on their vehicles.
A truck accident lawyer must prove that a driver was not doing inspections. In addition, trucks require regular upkeep, and the driver or the trucking company can potentially be held liable if failing to maintain them correctly resulted in an accident that affected other drivers.
Poor Cargo Loading
Improper cargo loading can cause items to shift during transport. When cargo moves while trucks are being driven, it can cause the vehicles to sway.
Shifting cargo is one of those causes of truck accidents that many people overlook, but it can contribute to a dangerous situation. The most severe injuries are caused by cargo on tractor-trailers that aren’t secured down. Items flying off a semi while it’s moving can cause a fatal accident.
Crash Injuries Often Related to Truck Accidents
When a large truck collides with a passenger vehicle, serious injuries can be expected. Some of the most common causes of accident injuries stem from the impact of the semi colliding with the victim’s car.
Spinal cord injuries, neck injuries, and internal injuries are all frequently seen in victims of large truck collisions. Although most passenger cars are built to be safe, they aren’t capable of enduring most truck accidents.
Where Do Most Truck Accidents Occur?
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration found that most collisions involving trucks occurred in rural areas. Some reasons why crashes may increase in rural areas include road hazards and increased distractions.
The second most common place for collisions was interstates. California, Florida, Georgia, and Texas are the states that typically have the most crashes.
Establishing Liability in Truck Accident Cases
Determining which party is at fault in cases involving trucks can be challenging. Often there are more than two parties involved, which means multiple people can claim damages.
The last thing you want to do when trying to recover from a traumatic injury is deal with insurance companies. Hiring an attorney allows you to feel peace of mind knowing your case is being handled by a professional.
Contact a Truck Accident Attorney
Were you injured because of one of these common collision causes? Whether you see the cause of the accident here or your situation is wholly unique, our team of experienced attorneys can help.
Don’t let another individual’s mistake leave you buried beneath medical bills. Instead, call Wendt Law Firm P.C. at 816-542-6734 and request a free case review today.