According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Over 5,000 large trucks and buses were involved in deadly crashes in 2018. Between 2005 and 20009, the number of fatal crashes involving large trucks or buses increased by 34%. Every year, hundreds of thousands of truck accidents result in serious personal injuries and property damage. What causes these dangerous truck accidents to happen? As with passenger vehicle accidents, most truck accidents involve some type of negligence. We have listed the 10 most common causes of truck accidents below.
1) Drowsy and Distracted Truck Drivers
Distracted driving is incredibly dangerous. Despite all of the new laws prohibiting texting while driving, truck drivers and passenger vehicle drivers continue to drive while distracted. It only takes a few seconds to check a text message, but a truck driver can easily travel the length of a football field during those seconds. When truck drivers are distracted, they are less likely to notice smaller passenger vehicles in their blind spots or the vehicle in front of them making an abrupt stop. Distracted driving is not limited to checking a text message or watching videos. It can also include staring off into space or manipulating a GPS unit. Truck drivers are notorious for not taking enough breaks or resting frequently enough, making them more susceptible to drowsy and distracted driving.
2) Inadequate Surveillance
Truck drivers must look around that before making lane changes, turning, or merging onto a freeway. Trucks are massive, and they can cause passenger vehicles to flip and roll in a collision. Even a bump from a commercial vehicle can cause fatal injuries. When truck drivers engage in inadequate surveillance, they fail to look around them to complete a driving maneuver safely. They may also fail to check to see if there is a driver or another obstacle in their way before turning or making a lane change. The most common situations that involve inadequate surveillance are lane changes and making turns at intersections.
3) Driving an Overweight Truck
Federal and state laws set limits on how heavy a commercial truck can be. Overweight trucks can more easily cause a truck driver to lose control of the truck, creating a risk that it will crash into other vehicles or a stationary object. Additionally, when a truck is overweight, the extra weight can make it difficult, if not impossible, for a truck driver to brake when going down a hill. In many cases, the truck is not just overweight, but the wait is improperly distributed, making the truck impossible to maneuver safely and more prone to rollovers.
4) Dangerous Road Conditions
In some cases, the truck driver is not at fault for the accident. For example, a city or state may have failed to maintain its roads properly. A commercial truck could drive over a large pothole, causing the truck to swerve uncontrollably. In other cases, a road may not be safe enough for large trucks to drive on, but the city or town fails to put warning signs up that trucks may not access the roads. Still, in other cases, businesses or local governments may fail to put warning signs for overhangs, stating that trucks must be under a certain height to drive under them safely.
5) Speeding or Traveling Too Fast for Dangerous Road Conditions
Speeding is always dangerous, no matter the type of vehicle you are driving. When truck drivers speed, they put other drivers at a much higher risk of injury. Commercial trucks are massive, and they take longer to slow down than other vehicles. When a truck driver is speeding to try to complete a job, he or she may not brake in time to avoid a collision. In other cases, truck drivers might be driving under the speed limit, but failing to use reasonable care under dangerous conditions. For example, if it is snowing or storming, a reasonable person might decide to pull over and wait for the storm to pass instead of driving. Truck drivers must use reasonable care in bad weather situations.
6) Following Another Driver Too Closely
Tailgating is another dangerous cause of commercial truck accidents. Massive trucks are typically not able to stop as quickly as passenger vehicles because of their length and weight. When truck drivers fail to maintain proper space between them and the vehicle in front of them, they cannot stop as quickly to avoid an accident.
7) Misjudging Another Driver’s Speed
In other cases, truck drivers may think they have more space between them and another car than they have. Misjudging the space between vehicles or the amount of space they have to merge or turn safely can cause disastrous accidents. Courts will determine what a reasonable driver should have done and hold the truck driver accountable if his or her negligence caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
8) Mechanical Problems
Mechanical problems are another cause of commercial truck accidents. There are thousands of parts that go into a commercial truck engine. When even one of these parts fails to work correctly, the engine could stop working effectively and result in a dangerous accident.
9) Brake Problems
Similarly, when a commercial truck’s brakes are not working, the truck driver will not be able to stop. Commercial trucks are so huge that they can take out multiple passenger vehicles when they swerve out of control. When mechanical problems or brake problems cause a truck accident, the injured victims may be able to sue the company who manufactured the parts and the maintenance team who should have prevented the mechanical failure.
10) Making an Illegal Maneuver
Many truck accidents happen because of negligence on the part of the truck driver. However, truck drivers have also been known to engage in dangerous behavior intentionally. When truck drivers make illegal maneuvers while driving, they can be held liable by accident victims.
11) Contact Our Experienced Truck Drivers Today
If you or your loved one have been severely injured in a commercial truck accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact Schwartz and Schwartz today to schedule your initial consultation.