May 17, 2022
What Are the Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents?

Vehicle accidents can happen to even the safest of drivers. In addition to driver-related causes, there are a lot of factors that can cause everything to go wrong in the blink of an eye.

What Trucks Can Be Involved in an Accident?

When thinking of a truck accident, most people immediately think of the large, 18-wheeler semi-trucks. Semi-trucks are incredibly dangerous, but on a broad spectrum, there are a variety of trucks that you share the road with. Any truck that commonly travels on a highway or roadway can be involved in an accident.

Other types of trucks that can cause serious accidents are:

  • Tanker Trucks
  • Garbage Trucks
  • Dump Trucks
  • Cement Trucks
  • Delivery Trucks
  • Flatbed Trucks

What Are the Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents?

Typically, accidents with trucks involved are the result of a failure on the driver’s end. There are many scenarios where the truck driver would be at fault for the accident.

Fatigued Driving

Truck drivers are typically held to a set standard for the number of hours they are allowed to spend on the road. A truck driver’s hours of service are determined by a federal regulation made by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The Hours-of-Service regulations state that a driver must not drive more than 11 hours out of a 24-hour period. The driver may only drive after they have spent 10 hours off-duty. Truck drivers are also required to take a 30-minute break after 8 hours and cannot drive over 60/70 hours after seven/eight consecutive days. If they reach this limit, they must take 34 hours off-duty before beginning to drive again.

These regulations are put in place to protect you and truck drivers by preventing fatigued drivers from getting on the road and ensuring that when they do drive, they are rested and alert. However, it is all too common that Hours of Service regulations are violated. There are many factors that can cause a driver to drive on the road, even after they’ve passed their allotted driving hours. Sometimes a toxic company culture or a poor company scheduling system can push a driver to work over their limits.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is incredibly dangerous and illegal. If a truck driver takes their eyes off the road for even a second, they can cause a serious accident. A driver who chooses to text or divert their attention for only a few seconds can cause other drivers’ serious injury and cause thousands in property damage.

Aggressive Driving

Because truckers are under a lot of stress to deliver their cargo to its destination within a specific time frame, it can be easy for some of them to get aggravated. Refusing to yield, closely following another driver, and tailgating are all examples of aggressive driving. Any form of aggressive driving is an accident waiting to happen and is illegal.

Driving Under the Influence

Driving under the influence is one of the most common causes of accidents for all types of vehicles. When truck drivers get behind the wheel when they are under the influence, it can make an accident even more deadly and costly. For this reason, truck drivers have lower limits of acceptable blood alcohol content than drivers of other vehicles.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations state that a commercial vehicle operator’s blood alcohol content threshold is 0.04%, which is half the amount a regular vehicle driver can be. It is not permitted for truck drivers to consume alcohol within four hours of driving, and they cannot have alcohol, even if it is unopened, in the cab of the truck while on duty.

Because they must work such long hours and drive far distances, some truck drivers choose to use illegal drugs in order to increase their performance. Truckers who use stimulants like cocaine or methamphetamine can also cause serious accidents because they are under the influence.

Speeding

Although many commercial trucks are now equipped with GPS technology that prevents a trucker from driving above the speed limit, there are still plenty of trucks on the road that have not yet been outfitted. Truck drivers can be tempted to speed, thinking that they may make up some lost time if they’re running behind schedule. Speeding in any vehicle is dangerous, but speeding in a large truck can make any accident more deadly.

Weather

If weather causes slick highways or icy roads, trucks can be susceptible to spinning out. Snow and rain can make it difficult for the driver to see and control their large vehicle. Many states have laws in place that prevent drivers from proceeding in certain conditions, but because truck drivers are under extreme pressure, they often think that they may be able to push through, even if it will result in a fine.

Road Construction

Construction can affect the width and length of any road or highway. If a truck driver is in an area where they need to maneuver around a median or road shoulder, it can put the truck off balance. This can cause the truck to tip over and potentially crash into any other vehicles that may be nearby.

Improper Vehicle Maintenance

Just like regular vehicles, trucks need proper regular maintenance to perform correctly. If the driver, or their company, is taking shortcuts when it comes to the truck’s maintenance, it can cause devastating problems. Improperly repairing brakes, or continuing to use worn-out tires, can all result in a vehicle failure that can cause a devastating accident. Accidents due to improper vehicle maintenance are not always the driver’s fault, and the company they work for should be held liable.

Poor Driver Training

Although much of the commerce in the United States heavily relies on truckers, there is currently a large shortage of drivers. To continue to transport goods in a timely fashion, companies need to fill job positions quickly. Sometimes, this means putting drivers behind the wheel who have not undergone an efficient and thorough training process.

If you have been injured in an accident involving a truck in Elk Grove or the Sacramento area, the law offices of Guenard and Bozarth, LLP are here to help you get the settlement you deserve. Our highly experienced attorneys are the team you want beside you for any personal injury accident in Northern California. Contact us for a consultation today.

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