FAQ: Common Causes of Truck Accidents

No matter where we go, we share our roads with semi-trucks and other commercial vehicles on a daily basis. It is no different in St. Louis than anywhere else in the country. Usually, they are driven by safe and responsible truck drivers, and they reach their destinations safely. But what about when they don’t? Trucks are massive machines, weighing a minimum of 10,000 pounds. When an accident happens involving a truck, serious damage and injuries are nearly inevitable.

Have you or a loved one been in a truck accident? You deserve to be represented by a lawyer who is familiar with truck accident cases, skilled at getting results for their clients, and is sensitive to the pain you are experiencing. Amanda Hayden has over 15 years of experience acting as the voice for those who need to be heard. Send us a message or call us at (314) 480-3100 today.

Top Causes of Truck Accidents

When studying vehicular collisions, we look at the critical event and the critical reason. The critical event is the event that made the collision unavoidable. The critical reason is the cause (either driver error, vehicular failure, or environmental condition) that put the vehicle in the critical event. The critical reason is where fault is assigned. The following are the leading causes, or critical reasons, of commercial vehicle and truck accidents:

  • Driver fatigue. Truck driving is a demanding profession. Often, drivers are pushed to the limit both physically and mentally. A truck driver’s workday consists of sitting down, staring at typically uninteresting highways, and driving for several hours at a time. The nature of the job alone is a strain. Couple it with unforgiving, tight deadlines and lack of quality sleep, and things can get dangerous. Drivers are under pressure to get to their destination with little time to rest. The sleep that they do get, away from the comfort of their own home, is hardly the rejuvenating slumber they need. Operating a vehicle when sleep deprived is equivalent to getting behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol.
  • Oversized loads. Loads that are larger in size or weight than the truck can safely haul cause problems with visibility – both for the truck driver and other drivers on the road – and maneuverability. Additionally, other hazards are more likely to occur, like a truck tipping over or hazardous materials spilling and catching fire, when cargo is improperly loaded.
  • Speeding. Because of the sometimes unrealistic expectations set forth by the employer, a truck driver may be motivated to drive faster than they should. Other times, a truck could be traveling too fast only because the driver is a habitual speeder. Because of their large size, trucks are incredibly dangerous when traveling at high speeds and are highly likely to cause devastating damage when they crash.
  • Distracted driving. As technology advances, there are more and more distractions drivers have to resist. Distracted driving includes everything from texting, talking on the phone, looking at the GPS for directions, adjusting the radio, eating, and more; it is a problem that plagues all drivers, not just commercial truck drivers. There are countless reasons a driver might shift their attention away from driving. However, it is even more tempting when spending hour after hour, day after day, sitting alone in a small cab traveling on uninteresting highway roads. It only takes an instant for an accident to happen.
  • Mechanical problems. Commercial vehicle owners are required to regularly inspect and maintain their trucks. That takes time, and time is money when it comes to transporting goods cross-country. Some trucking companies and truck owners may not be maintaining their vehicles to the satisfaction of the law. These are large, heavy-duty machines that are operated for many hours at a time. There are many opportunities for something to go wrong, and when trucks are not properly maintained, parts can malfunction or break, leading to serious accidents.
  • Improper training. To operate a semi-truck or other large commercial vehicle, the driver must obtain a commercial driver’s license. They are required to do training and meet certain requirements, but the reality is that it’s not very difficult to meet these requirements and get a commercial license. Some drivers get behind the wheel without having actually completed the training. Additionally, some new drivers simply don’t have the experience maneuvering their truck in challenging road or weather conditions. If an emergency occurs, these drivers don’t know the proper way to respond, and they can end up making the situation worse.

Factors that Contribute to Truck Accidents

Because trucks and commercial truck driving are so complex, with so many factors involved and so much room for error, a truck accident can rarely be wholly attributed to one major problem. There may be a single main cause, but almost always there are other contributing factors. Through their Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the US Department of Transportation recognized several secondary factors that commonly contribute to truck accidents in tandem with a primary cause. They are as follows:

  1. Brake problems
  2. Traffic flow interruption
  3. Prescription drug use
  4. Travelling too fast for the conditions
  5. Unfamiliarity with the roadway
  6. Roadway problems
  7. Required to stop before crash (such as a traffic light or crosswalk)
  8. Alcohol and over-the-counter drug use
  9. Inadequate surveillance
  10. Fatigue

Truck Accident Lawyer | The Hayden Law Firm

Truck accident cases are serious matters that require expert representation. The Hayden Law Firm understands the complex nature of truck accidents and cares about your life and recovery. To speak to us about your case with no commitment, contact us or call us at (314) 480-3100 today.

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