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Home » What Are the Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents?

What Are the Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents?

Driving a passenger vehicle can be dangerous when you are in close proximity to commercial trucks. But you probably have no choice but to share the road with these vehicles every day. Large commercial trucks, semi-tractor trailers and delivery vans are responsible for over 4000 deaths every year in the U.S. Truck collisions cause huge losses involving property, productivity and personal injuries. Federal agencies maintaining statistics show that commercial trucks make up just eight percent of highway traffic in the United States. However, trucks are involved in over 11 percent of all fatalities occurring on American roadways. In recent decades, serious big rig accidents have increased over 20 percent, more than any other group of drivers on U.S. roads. Since driving near trucks is unescapable, it is important to understand the primary causes of car-truck accidents. This knowledge can help keep you safe, even in dangerous situations. Because of a typical truck’s size and weight, it has special limitations and performance characteristics such as acceleration, braking and visibility. A loaded big-rig can weigh 80,000 pounds, about 27 times heavier than a passenger car. Any contact between a commercial truck and another vehicle can lead to very serious injuries or loss of life.

Causes of Injuries and Fatalities on the Road

​Commercial truck accidents kill and seriously injure motorists every day. A few years ago, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued an eye-opening report indicating actual causes of truck accidents. Below are the most common causes from the report:​

  • Drowsy Driving and Fatigue– Nearly one out of every eight accidents involving trucks causing serious damage and injuries is the direct result of driver fatigue. In fact, truckers driving longer than eight hours in the day are at double the risk of causing an accident, compared to truckers who drive fewer hours.
  • Equipment Failure– Many truck accidents are the result of equipment failure including defective tires, mechanical issues, or poorly maintained braking systems. The FMCSA mandates that each trucker and trucking company perform routine pre-trip inspections and proper maintenance of their large commercial vehicles throughout the year. Unfortunately, many inspection requirements are ignored. Manufacturing may also be an issue. A manufacturer that produces and sells a defective truck part can cause devastating accidents. When brakes, tires, or other defective parts malfunction, a driver can easily lose control, and others may suffer life-threatening injurie
  • Negligent Hiring and Supervision– Trucking companies should always hire safe drivers who follow safety policies and regulations due to the increased amount of danger t hat comes withdriving a semi-truck. When a company hires a driver with a history of dangerous driving or fails to supervise employees the chances of a trucking accident occurring are increased. The company can face liability for negligence if the driver crashes.
  • Reckless Driving- (Which takes on many forms, including speeding, distracted driving, failure to signal, dangerous lane changes and failure to account for traffic and weather conditions) Driving at an excessive rate is a common cause (over 23 percent) of crashes involving large commercial trucks. Because of the excessive weight of the commercial vehicle (up to 80,000 pounds), the force of the impact is substantially more deadly for the driver and other motorists with every mile per hour of increased speed
  • Improper Loading- Those who load and secure cargo must do so according to FMCSA requirements. Any mistakes when loading cargo can easily cause a safety hazard when the weight is unevenly distributed or incorrectly configured on the truck’s trailer. Imbalanced loads can cause a truck roll over, or allow the cargo to become loose, falling onto the roadway and onto busy traffic lanes.
  • Driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs or prescription medications– Nearly 20 percent of all truck accident collisions causing injuries and fatalities were the direct result of illicit or prescription medications that affected the trucker’s reaction time. Over-the-counter medications also contribute to serious accidents, when truckers use the drugs to stay awake, stay alert, or stay well.
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  • Inadequate Driver Training– Even though truckers are trained to make safe turns, and check blind spots, many are inexperience, or simply forget the training they received. Nearly one out of every seven truck accidents is the result of the truckers failure to properly check blind spots before changing lanes, backing up or turning. Circumventing problems on the roadway is often a challenge for many inexperienced drivers. Large commercial trucks are challenging to maneuver, and a trucker can easily underestimate the amount of evasive action required to stop in time, maneuver out of the way, or avoid a catastrophic event. Failing to take proper action can cause serious injuries and fatalities of other motorists on the roadway.
  • Unrealistic Delivery Schedules- Often the result of a trucking company wanting a driver to reach his or her destination sooner than expected. The companies can compel truckers to drive far too many hours or at great speed to meet their schedule. This can lead to many of the problems listed above.

​These are not the only causes of commercial truck accidents, but they are among the most common. When you’re familiar with the hazards, you can more easily avoid truckers who may be driving irresponsibly by being able to spot these dangers.

Investigation and Evidence in Truck Accident Cases

​Determining what caused you or your loved one’s truck accident is not an easy task. Most cases require a thorough investigation. Finding out what caused the accident is vital to making a trucking accident claim. As soon as our lawyer learn of an injured client, we begin conducting a thorough investigation to determine whether a driver or company violated any safety regulations. These investigations may include sending investigators and expert consultants to the scene of the accident and obtaining any possible evidence of negligence and fault. This evidence often includes:​

  • Witness statements – Witness accounts of the accident can prove critical in corroborating negligence claims. Witnesses can testify as to whether a truck driver was driving erratically or aggressively, whether part of the truck failed, or whether anything else unusual occurred.
  • Electronic control modules (ECMs) – Also known as event data recorders or “black boxes,” these devices record information about the speed of the truck, whether the driver applied brakes, and additional information from just before an accident. Crash experts can retrieve and analyze a truck’s ECM data to assist with accident reconstruction.
  • Truck cameras – Many trucking companies have started installing cameras inside their trucks, either facing the road, the driver, or both. If a truck had a camera, footage can help us determine whether the truck driver engaged in negligence or misconduct.
  • Electronic logging devices – The FMCSA requires truck drivers to keep track of their hours using electronic logging devices (ELDs). Examining these ELDs can help determine whether a driver exceeded hours of service limits, risking fatigue.
  • Trucking company records – Trucking companies should keep accurate records regarding the hiring and supervision of truck drivers. For example, records that indicate a company failed to perform the necessary drug and alcohol tests before an impaired truck driver crashed can constitute evidence of negligent supervision

Finding all of the necessary evidence in a truck accident case is not easy. However, whether we handle an insurance claim or lawsuit in civil court, our lawyers have the resources and strategies to find the information needed to pursue liability for our clients’ truck accident injuries. Acquiring the proper settlements or verdict for catastrophic injuries requires a comprehensive approach to every case. The Pascoe Law Firm brings every appropriate resource to the table, including investigators, expert consultants, evidence and document analysis, and anything else needed to fully pursue each claim.

How a Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help You

At The Pascoe Law Firm, our experienced truck accident lawyer based in Houston, TX is well-versed at helping people like you recover compensation for severe injuries caused by a truck crash. We strive to obtain the best possible result in every case — and to help ease your stress so that you can focus on your physical recovery. Regardless of the complexity of your case or the severity of your injuries, you can rest assured that the Pascoe Law Firm Truck Accident Attorney will fight to protect your legal rights. Before you select an attorney to represent you in a truck accident case, we invite you to contact our office or schedule a meeting with our attorney who will sit down with you and answer any questions that you may have concerning your situation. Call us at 713-829-4317 today if you have been injured in a truck accident and would like to discuss legal options available to you.

Attorney, John D. Pascoe and the Pascoe Law Firm, is responsible for the content on this website, principal office and only office located in Friendswood, Texas. Servicing: Alvin, Angleton, Austin, Bayou Vista, Bacliff, Baytown, Beaumont, Brookside Village, Brownsville, Clear Lake, Chambers County, Corpus Christi, Dallas, Danbury, Dickinson, Deer Park, Eagle Shale Ford, El Lago, Friendswood, Fresno, Fort Bend County, Fort Worth, Galveston, Galveston County, Galveston Island, Harlingen, Harris County, Hitchcock, Houston, Jefferson County, Kemah, Lake Jackson, La Marque, La Porte, League City, Laredo, Liberty County, Manvel, McAllen, Montgomery County, Nassau Bay, Orange, Pasadena, Port Bolivar, Port Arthur, Pearland, Rio Grande Valley, Rosharon, Santa Fe, San Antonio, San Leon, Seabrook, Shoreacres, Sienna Plantation, South Houston, South Padre Island, Southbelt Ellington, Taylor Lake Village, Texas City, Tiki Island, Victoria, Webster, and throughout Texas. 

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