The Five Most Common Causes of 18-Wheeler Tractor-Trailer Truck Accidents
According to research conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Office of Research and Analysis, two governmental traffic safety agencies published the “Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS).” The “Large Truck Crash Causation Study” was designed to ascertain why commercial trucks weighing 10,000 pounds or greater are involved in serious accidents. The study analyzed about 120,000 large truck accidents from across the country. The accidents included in the study were screened to include at least one 18-wheeler truck, and the accident resulted in an injury or fatality.
Motor vehicle accidents are complicated situations since accidents might involve two or more motor vehicles. Several external circumstances may also influence the occurrence of an accident, such as traffic conditions, time of day, road conditions, driver experience, and vehicle maintenance. In fact, accident reconstruction experts seldom presume that an accident is caused by only one factor. The Large Truck Crash Causation Study defined ‘causation’ as the most likely factor that increases an 18-wheeler truck’s risk of being involved in an accident.
The most common causes of commercial truck accidents are as follows:
- Trucker Negligence – trucker negligence is the most common cause of a semi-truck accident. Trucker negligence can be due to the following:
- Distracted Driving – Distracted driving includes texting, talking on a phone, navigating, communicating with dispatch, eating, taking photos, and drinking.
- Driving Errors – Driver Errors include changing lanes, merging into oncoming traffic, braking harshly, speeding, operating a truck without compensating for inclement weather/hazardous road conditions, and tailgating.
- Driving while impaired – Truckers who consume alcohol, controlled substances, prescription medications, or over-the-counter insomnia drugs are much more prone to causing a serious accident involving severe injuries and death.
- Driving While Tired – According to federal regulations, truckers are only allowed a certain number of hours when behind the wheel. Truck drivers who go over the allowable number of hours are prone to making mistakes and falling asleep while driving.
- Trucking Company Negligence – Another major cause of semi-truck accidents is trucking company negligence. The most common examples of trucking company negligence include, without limitation, the following:
- A failure to maintain the semi-truck fleet;
- Influencing truckers to log too many hours when behind the wheel;
- Hiring drivers who are not licensed or who are inexperienced;
- The improper loading of cargo; and
- Violating federal motor carrier safety standards.
- Hazardous Road and Weather Conditions – Weather and road conditions play a key role in accidents involving semi-trucks. Such hazardous road and weather conditions include improper road design and maintenance, slippery roads, heavy snow, and ice.
- Maintenance issues and defective trucks – Truck defects may include defective brakes, cargo straps, and tires. Also, improper brake jobs and the failure to maintain a truck can also cause serious accidents that can result in death.
- Other Driver Negligence – While it is important to understand that most truckers are highly experienced and cautious drivers, and are not the only ones who are negligent and cause accidents. Automobile drivers may engage in behaviors that lead to trucking accidents such as driving while distracted, driving while impaired, speeding, driving recklessly, failing to drive carefully due to hazardous weather and/or road conditions, and weaving in and out of traffic, etc.
Our 18-wheeler accident attorneys represent those injured or families who lost family members in truck accidents caused by negligence. We invite you to speak with us about your case and an initial consultation, so contact us at 1-800-YOUR-LAWYER (1-800-968-7529), or fill out our case inquiry form, or visit us in person.
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