Top Six Causes of Truck Accidents

September 11, 2020

Truck accidents can lead to severe injuries or death. Truck accidents are usually caused by human error, either yours or the truck drivers. The following are six common causes of truck accidents:

1. Driver Fatigue

Driving a truck can be high pressure and require long hours of driving. Often trucking companies require drivers to drive long distances and deliver items quickly. 

Sometimes drivers may be on the road for several days and have only a few hours of sleep. As a result of fatigue, the driver may lose concentration, coordination and may react more slowly to road situations. Worse yet, a driver may actually fall asleep at the wheel.

There are federal trucking laws that regulate the number of hours a truck driver may spend behind the wheel in a shift, the amount of required sleep, and when the driver must take rest breaks. Despite these laws, many companies do not comply and put their drivers and other road passengers at risk.

2. Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is an issue on both highways and local roads. Distracted driving is any activity that diverts the driver’s attention away from the road.

Driving long distances can be boring, and a natural instinct may be to divert attention from the road to turn on the radio, change the station, check a cell phone, eat, or do something else to stay occupied. Even in perfect conditions, a driver can lose control of their vehicle by taking their eyes off the road for just a second.

3. Alcohol and Drugs

Alcohol and drug use is prevalent in the trucking industry. Due to the long hours of driving, many truck drivers use amphetamines and cocaine to stay awake. Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is extremely dangerous.

A recent study revealed that 30% of truck drivers admitted to taking amphetamines on the job. 20% used marijuana and 3% admitted to using cocaine. While these drugs may keep the driver more alert, they also may compel the driver to make riskier driving decisions, unsafe lane changes, and poor decisions in bad weather. Additionally, as these stimulants wear off, the driver may become more likely to fall asleep at the wheel.

4. Speeding and Overtaking

Sometimes a driver may not be able to make a delivery in the short time allotted by their employer. Some drivers may try anyway.

Because of such pressures, a truck driver may drive faster than the speed limit or what’s appropriate for the conditions. If a driver believes they may lose their job due to a delayed delivery, they may take greater risks to make the delivery on time.

If you’ve ever experienced a large truck tailgating you, you’ll do whatever it takes to get out of the way. This may include swerving off the road or into another lane, which may lead to an accident.

5. Poor Training and Maintenance

There are regulations and requirements for the amount of training a truck driver must have in order to drive a commercial vehicle. Many drivers, however, end up on the road without having met the requirements.

Commercial vehicles are extremely heavy and require ample experience and training to operate in a safe manner. In poor weather conditions, a truck driver must take extra precautions, including driving slower than usual (and often slower than the posted speed limits). This prevents skidding, hydroplaning, or jackknifing. Without proper training, truck drivers put themselves and other motorists at risk.

The truck company is also responsible for proper and consistent inspections and maintenance, but this often doesn’t happen. These inspections and maintenance take time and cost money, and trucking companies may cut corners to save money and make faster deliveries. This can result in trucks on the roads that are not safe for the trip.

6. Improper Cargo Load

Every truckload must adhere to specific weight, size, length, and height limits. These vary based on the truck’s contents.

Even with these requirements, there are often oversights that lead to trucks that are too heavy to be operated safely or which may be at risk of tipping over. Hazardous materials could also catch fire or create other dangerous situations.

Contact an Experienced Truck Accident Attorney

If you have been injured in a trucking accident, you need to contact an experienced truck accident attorney. Your lawyers can work diligently to gather evidence in your case, such as driver records, inspection and maintenance logs, black box records, and more. It is important to get this evidence before it is lost or destroyed. Contact the experienced trucking accident lawyers at Saladino & Schaaf today or call us at 270-444-0406 or 270-753-1529 to schedule a free consultation. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, but you must act quickly. There are time limits on legal action.




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Top Causes of Truck Accidents




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