What are Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Truck Accidents Caused by Commercial Truck Drivers
There is specific training a person must complete before becoming certified as a commercial truck driver. Even when a truck driver earns these credentials, extra safety precautions are still necessary due to the size and weight of trucks they will be driving.
Some trucks also contain cargo that may be hazardous if spilled on the road or involved in an accident. There is a lot to consider as a commercial truck driver, so it’s important that safety remains a top priority.
Common causes of truck accidents from commercial drivers include:
- Truck Driver Tiredness and Fatigue – Federal regulations limits the amount of time a commercial truck driver can log driving per week. There is a maximum 11-hour driving limit allowed for truckers carrying cargo after a consecutive 10 hours off duty. This is to help prevent driver fatigue and give drivers a chance to get the adequate amount of sleep or rest they need. Often scheduled routes included hundreds, if not thousands, of miles, and this can wear on even the most experienced drivers.
- Poor or Improper Truck Maintenance – Trucking companies are responsible for proper maintenance and upkeep of their vehicles. All maintenance checks must be documented and a truck company can be held responsible for a trucking accident if faulty equipment is found to be to blame. This equipment malfunction can mean anything from faulty brakes to tire blowouts.
- Equipment Failure – Just like any other vehicle, equipment failure can occur due to seasonal elements, poorly constructed roads or a variety of other factors. Inclement weather conditions such as ice or snow can be extremely dangerous for large trucks on the road due to shift in traffic patterns and a possible inability to brake.
- Distracted Driving – Truck drivers spend long hours on the road, often in remote locations, which can lead drivers to want to multitask. Even when there is less traffic on the road, truck drivers need to focus their full attention on the road, and any distractions become hazardous. One of the most common causes of distracted driving is operating a mobile device while at the wheel. Talking, texting or even entering directions into a GPS system are all enough for a driver to take their eyes off the road long enough to put themselves and others in danger.
- Texting Truck Drivers – In many states, texting while driving is against the law, and it is banned nationwide for drivers of commercial trucks. Despite the law, this doesn’t keep some drivers from continuing to text while driving during their shifts. Texting while driving increases the chances for an accident significantly. The increase of risk is also heightened when texting is used in combination with a fatigued driver or when a driver is navigating an unfamiliar road.
- Speeding Truck Drivers – Those who exceed the speed limit put others on the road at risk because they are not driving with the flow of traffic. This is a high cause for concern with truckers especially since the vehicle they’re driving weighs nearly 20 times more than the average passenger vehicle. Commercial truck drivers often speed because they are on strict timelines.
- Unsafe Driving Practices – Truck drivers log thousands of miles every week. Long stretches of time on the road can become monotonous and may cause some drivers to become less safe with how they operate their vehicles. In addition to speeding, unsafe driving practices include:
- • Following another vehicle too closely
• Road rage
• Failure to check for blind spots
• Frequent lane changes
• Failure to use turn signals
- • Following another vehicle too closely
Other Common Causes of Truck Accidents
- Inadequate or improper training – If a driver has not had the proper training in how to handle a commercial truck, defensive driving and other safety elements, then the driver will pose a hazard on the road.
- Unfamiliarity with roads or inexperience driving – Any person traveling an unknown road can face driving challenges. Now imagine if that person was driving an 80,000-pound vehicle for the first time and didn’t realize how narrow, curvy or rough a certain road was. The combination of circumstances can be disastrous.
- Overloading – Driving a commercial truck is far different than navigating traffic in a passenger car. The amount of cargo these trucks carry have a huge impact. There are regulations that determine how much weight a commercial truck can carry because, if overloaded, it can be detrimental to the trucker’s driving and the vehicle itself. Tires can experience blowouts or the truck could jackknife due to too much weight. Improperly secured cargo is also dangerous and can lead to injury and possible fatal accidents.
- Road Construction – Road construction projects can cause delays in traffic. These literal roadblocks often limit drivers to one lane of traffic. Some drivers may try to maneuver around the construction by driving on the shoulder or in the median, but doing so can easily cause an accident to occur.
- Weather and Road Conditions – Not all highways or roadways are ideal for driving, especially for large trucks. Unpaved or pothole-ridden roads can make it extra difficult for drivers. Narrow lanes or highways without shoulders can become hazardous. Adding poor weather conditions, such as sleet or snow, can further put all drivers at risk.
Hire a Trucking Attorney with Experience
If you’ve been involved in a truck accident, you want to have a lawyer who has experience with these specific type of cases. Trucking crashes, especially those as a result of the common causes of truck accidents, are handled much differently than accidents that involve only passenger vehicles.
In addition to the truck driver, the trucking company is often also involved. Our attorneys have the legal skills and expertise necessary to fully investigate trucking accidents and determine what a fair compensation is for victims of trucking accidents.
Please, call our Pennsylvania tractor trailer lawyers if you’re the victim of one of the common causes of truck accidents toll free at 1-800-444-5309 for a free consultation. We have offices in Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Scranton and will travel to you.