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The Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents

We all share the road with 18-wheelers, and whether we're talking about the cashier at the gas station or some guy we meet at a party, once anyone finds out about our lawyers' experience litigating truck accident cases, virtually everyone asks the same question: what are most common causes of truck accidents that we encounter in our cases? It's a fair question. We all share the road with big trucks, and if there's some some specific misconduct that one can be on the lookout for, then maybe an accident can be avoided.

In many of the cases we've litigated, the truck driver defendants simply didn't think the rules promulgated by state and federal authorities applied to them. The rules enforced by the Federal Motor Carrier Safey Administration and Texas Department of Transportation deal directly with the issues that invariably arise in truck accident cases. As a result, it is critical that your lawyer knows, understands, and correctly applies these rules to your case.

In the interest of addressing this question, our attorneys wrote this article to describe what our experience has shown us to be the most common causes of truck accidents.


Questions Answered In This Article:

  • What are the most common causes of truck accidents?
  • What truck driver misconduct causes 18-wheeler accidents?
  • Are truck drivers more dangerous than other drivers?
  • Just how many truck accidents are there?

Just how big of a problem are truck accidents?

Statistically speaking, you're less likely to be hurt by an 18-wheeler than a passenger car. However, that arithmetic is no comfort to the people who are indeed harmed by negligent truckers. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, there were more than 500,000 accidents involving large trucks and commercial vehicles in 2017, and these accidents resulted in more than 100,000 serious injuries and almost 5,000 deaths, compared with 3,200 deaths in 2009. Suffice it to say this is a big problem.

Causes of Truck Accidents

So why do these accidents take place? What are the causal factors? Here are some of the most common reasons:

  • Fatigued or unqualified truck drivers - Now more than ever, truck drivers are under intense pressure to stay on the road longer, making back-to-back trips a frequent occurrence. As a result, fatigue is rampant among drivers, even though federal law mandates they take periodic rest stops. But for various reasons, from making a mileage bonus to meeting an unreasonable deadline, many drivers simply choose to ignore those mandates. On top of all of this, because of the increased demands on the trucking industry, many companies hire under-qualified or completely unqualified drivers who are not familiar with or simply don't care about the skill and care required when operating an 18-wheeler.
  • Truck drivers operating under the influence: In our two and a half decades of litigating truck accidents at Grossman Law Offices, we have seen many instances of drivers operating vehicles under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and as a result, suffering impaired judgement while driving. We've also dealt with many accidents caused by distracted drivers who, despite recent federal crackdowns on using cell phones to talk or text while driving, still use their devices on the road. Make no mistake about it: an 18-wheeler is truly a very complicated vehicle to drive, and even a momentary lapse of concentration can lead to disaster.
  • Equipment maintenance and failure - Trucking companies are responsible for the maintenance of their vehicles. They can maintain (work on) their own trucks or use a third-party to complete the work. If they use a third-party, you may be able to include this contractor as another defendant in your lawsuit.

    Furthermore, another common cause of trucking accidents is equipment failure. Equipment manufacturing mistakes can lead to problems such as blowouts of defective tires, and the failure to properly maintain equipment (such as braking systems) can also result in accidents. If a manufacturing defect does lead to a collision, then a products liability case needs to be considered.

  • Cargo loading problems - When a truck is negligently or improperly loaded, it can easily lead to a wreck. Even though federal law requires 18-wheelers to carry no more than 80,000 pounds of weight, tractor-trailers are routinely overloaded in order to save on fuel costs by reducing the amount of trips necessary. This is a dangerous decision, because an overloaded truck is much more likely to overturn while making a sharp turn or maneuvering quickly through traffic. On the other hand, tanker trucks may also experience problems when they do not carry enough liquid cargo. For example, a tanker-trailer attached to an 18-wheeler carrying a liquid load of less than 75 percent capacity will potentially slosh about, resulting in an imbalance that can eventually cause the driver to lose control of his rig.

  • Laws and regulations exist for the trucking industry because they have proven the necessity of oversight to keep them from injuring other motorists. If you have been involved in an accident with an 18-wheeler, it is important for you, or your family, to hire an attorney familiar with all of these regulations, so that you can hold the company that violated them to account.

    Call an Attorney as Soon as You Can

    No matter what the cause of your accident, it is essential that you contact an experience semi-truck accident attorney as quickly as possible. so that you can obtain fair compensation from those responsible.

    At Grossman Law Offices, our attorneys have represented thousands of clients injured in truck accidents over the past 25 years and helped them secure equitable restitution. If you would like a free and confidential consultation with one of our attorneys, please call us at (855) 326-0000 (toll free).


    Related Articles for Further Reading

  • Why Police Reports Are Overrated
  • How Does a Truck Accident Injury Trial Work?
  • Special Considerations for Fatal Truck Accident Cases