11 Causes of Truck Accidents
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Kathy McArthur with McArthur Law Firm.
Truck accidents are notorious for their severity; considering that a loaded truck can weigh 76,000 pounds more than a standard passenger vehicle, this isn’t particularly surprising. Unfortunately, in a collision between an 18-wheeler and a normal car, the car rarely comes out on top. Understanding some of the most common causes of semi-truck accidents can help drivers practice awareness, identify signs of unsafe truck driving, and avoid situations that could put themself and their passengers at higher risk of being injured. That said, if someone is injured in an accident with a large truck where the truck driver, company, or third-party was fully or partially at fault, it may be possible for the accident victims to seek compensation for their damages.
11 common causes of truck accidents include:
- Prescription drugs
- Over-the-counter drugs
- Illegal drugs
- Following too closely
- Improper loading
- Inclement weather
- Mechanical failure
- Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) violations
The cause of a truck accident might not be immediately apparent.
It’s important to keep in mind that one driver can never be fully aware of what another driver is doing behind the wheel. This is why accident attorneys caution drivers to refrain from admitting fault until a thorough investigation has been conducted into both sides. While some causes of truck accidents might seem obvious at first glance, such as inclement weather, it’s important to keep in mind that there might be more than one factor at play. For example, a truck that is speeding and/or improperly loaded will have a much harder time controlling their vehicle during inclement weather than a truck that is traveling at a safe speeded and loaded properly to prevent uneven weight distributions.
Additionally, you never know how long a truck driver has been on the road when you find yourself sharing space with them. Truck driving can be a strenuous job and often involves long hours away from home; this combined with pressure from trucking companies is a recipe for fatigued driving. While the FMCSA requires drivers to abide by certain hours of service restrictions to prevent exhaustion, fatigue remains a common cause of truck accidents, particularly among drivers who violate these restrictions. On the other hand, an accident could arise if a part of the truck was not properly serviced by a mechanic, placing liability on whoever was in charge of the repair.
Trucks contain black boxes similar to those found in airplanes.
A black box, ECM (electronic control module), or EDR (event data recorder) is a device installed in large trucks and tractor-trailers to monitor what is going with a truck during the drive. These devices capture the driver’s choices before, during, and after a collision to determine factors including speed, braking, location, and more. However, it typically takes an experienced truck accident attorney to obtain these devices, as well as data experts to analyze their content.
Additionally, trucking companies often have high-powered insurance teams that can create obstacles to collecting even seemingly simple evidence, like driving logs and employee records. The good news is that these and other important types of evidence can be collected quickly and efficiently by an experienced truck accident attorney who knows the law and has access to accident reconstruction analysts to determine the cause of the accident as well as who might be at fault. Most of these attorneys offer free consultations to truck accident victims, as well as working on a contingency fee basis, which means clients don’t pay unless they win.
To learn more about how truck accidents happen or to investigate your own claim, reach out to a truck accident attorney in your area.