6 Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents

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  • Post last modified:August 25, 2022
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Causes of Truck Accidents

It’s normal to come across different large trucks while driving. This can be dump/garbage trucks, tractor-trailers, tanker trucks, etc. In the United States, the truck industry has become a booming business. This is because trucks are regarded as one of the best ways to transport goods across the United States. Approximately 70% of all products arriving at their destination are moved by trucks.

However, commercial trucks such as; big rigs and delivery trucks, pose special hazards to smaller vehicles and their passengers. Truck drivers must be aware of the hazards posed by their large vehicles. Also, other drivers must take extra precautions when driving close to a truck.

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Minor mistakes like failing to signal before changing lanes can lead to disaster. This can be worse when an eighteen-wheeler is involved, combined with high speeds. Truck accidents can be devastating. And they cause some of the most serious injuries and fatalities.

What to do after an accident?

After an accident, it’s important to hire a personal injury lawyer who can help you to proceed further and talk to your insurance company regarding the claim. Don’t forget to check the reviews online before choosing an attorney to help you out of the situation. You can read more here.

According to statistics, a large truck is involved in 74% of all fatal passenger vehicle accidents. But why do they happen? Some major reasons for truck accidents are listed below.

1. Hours of Service Violation

Hours of service violations are one of the major reasons for truck accidents. Hours of service mean the number of hours drivers are allowed to be on duty. As well as the frequency and duration of rest periods. This is to help make sure that drivers remain awake and alert during work.

Since truck accidents can be fatal, hours of service violations must be taken seriously by truck drivers. However, if you get injured as a result of a defaulting truck driver, you should contact a nationally recognized truck accident law firm. An experienced lawyer will help you file the case and get the necessary compensation from the driver and their company.

In general, all carriers and drivers who operate commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) must adhere to the HOS regulations. According to research, tired or drowsy driving has similar consequences to drunk driving.

On June 1, 2020, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration(FMCSA), updated four provisions of the hours of service regulations. This is to give drivers more flexibility without jeopardizing safety. It was enforced on September 29, 2020. Vehicle drivers must avoid dot hours of service violations.

When truckers work more hours than permitted by the FMCSA, they may lose concentration and even fall asleep behind the wheel. These hazardous conditions can result in devastating truck accidents that endanger the lives of drivers.

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The hours of service regulation states that; a commercial driver is not allowed to drive for longer than 11 hours straight, without a break of at least 10 hours. Neither can they drive for longer than 60 hours in a week, or 70 hours in eight days. Occasionally, company scheduling procedures and individual motivations prevent truck drivers from adhering to these rules. 

There are penalties for hours of service violations. According to state and local laws, law enforcement officials are to impose “hours of service violations fines” for HOS violations. Additionally, a driver or carrier may be subject to civil penalties from the FMCSA. Depending on the severity, these hours of service violations fines can range from $1,000 to $16,000 per violation.

A truck can be stopped also if law enforcement discovers a driver indulges in hours-of-service violations. When that occurs, the truck will remain by the side of the road until the driver has logged enough time away from work to be back in compliance.

2. Over-Speeding

In 2020, speeding claimed the lives of 11,258 citizens. Speeding puts everyone on the road in danger, not just the lives of truck drivers. 

Trucks are much bigger than cars. So speeding is even riskier for truck drivers. Due to their size, weight, and high center of gravity, commercial vehicles take longer to stop. As a result, the driver has less control. Truck drivers should be found liable for their reckless and negligent speeding.

On company vehicles, major trucking companies may use speed limiters or speed trackers. But not all trucks are equipped with this technology. 

Speeding can have an impact on other motorists, pedestrians, and cyclists on the same road. According to the American Trucking Association, limiting truck speed to 65 mph would save 2.8 billion gallons of fuel.

3. Aggressive Driving

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, aggressive driving contributes to 54% of all fatal motor vehicle collisions.

Some businesses set arbitrary driving schedules because of this. Truck drivers are more likely to experience road rage because frequently travel long distances. They spend a lot of time driving and yet be under pressure to deliver their packages on those unreasonable schedules.

Due to their larger size, trucks are more difficult to maneuver and require more time to stop, turn, and slow down when the car in front travels more slowly than expected. Sadly, aggressive driving can significantly increase the risk of an accident by reducing the time available for those maneuvers. The truck’s greater mass could result in serious injuries in the event of an accident.

Truck drivers might find it challenging to reach their destinations on time. For instance, there is the challenge of traffic jams. After overcoming such difficulties, they might drive aggressively to lower the chances of arriving at their destination late.

Any driver can experience frustration while driving on a bad road. However, due to poor road maintenance and conditions, truck drivers may face even greater difficulties. Poor road conditions can be caused by bottlenecks, improper traffic signals, a lack of signs, potholes, and narrow lanes.

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Truck drivers may struggle more to maintain control of their trucks and would have to avoid bad spots. As a result, drivers may be aggressive when driving to keep their position on the road or to lessen any other difficulties they may encounter.

4. Inappropriate Cargo Loading

Instability lost goods, and serious accidents can occur as a result of improper cargo loading.

Although it might appear that improper cargo loading would be considered a driver error. However, it is more than that. Freight loading and unloading tasks may be shared by truck drivers, business owners, suppliers, and warehouse staff. Each of these parties is accountable for the loading and security of a truck.

Frequently, loads that are not properly secured or covered, come loose and disintegrate on the road. The cargo may strike other vehicles as it falls from the truck in more severe situations. The damage can be severe and even fatal depending on the type of cargo.

With an unbalanced load, a slight steering condition could cause the truck to roll over or jackknife, potentially resulting in serious injuries. Similar to this, the truck driver finds it much harder to get the truck to a halt when their vehicle is overloaded.

The distribution of cargo loads has been made better thanks to technological advancements. Measures have been put in place to prevent overweight or unbalanced trucks. Unfortunately, even with the aid of technology, mistakes in loading or securing cargo continue to be a leading cause of truck accidents.

5. Faulty Equipment

Manufacturers of trucks and truck parts are obligated to guarantee the proper design, production, and operation of their products.

Anybody in the path of a tractor-trailer or other large truck that experiences equipment failure while traveling down a Texas highway could face extremely dangerous circumstances. Just picture what would happen if a big truck lost its ability to brake or steer all of a sudden. A catastrophic outcome would result. A truck can become more hazardous if it has defective parts.

Truck drivers are required to report broken or defective parts and make sure the truck is taken in for repairs. Owners must also be careful not to send out a dangerous truck that endangers other motorists and truck drivers. While repairing the truck always follow the guideline from the dodge truck restoration parts catalog and they have some genuine parts collections that can be best for the truck.

6. Poor Vehicle Maintenance

Maintenance on large trucks is very important. Truck drivers must maintain their vehicles by state and federal regulations as well as the demands of trucking companies.

Truck drivers are responsible for keeping their vehicles well-maintained and operating as they should. This includes the tires, lights, steering, windshield and wipers, and brakes.

  • Windshield: Although it might not seem important, a cracked windshield poses a risk. This is because it may limit a driver’s field of vision. Even a small obstruction could affect the driver’s response time in an emergency, where one might have less than a second to react. 
  • Tires: There is no justification for not being aware that your tires are in bad shape since bad tires are obvious. Poor tire care makes high-profile vehicles more susceptible to rolling over in collisions.
  • Brakes: It is possible for brakes to unexpectedly fail, but usually this happens because the driver neglected to have the brakes routinely serviced or the brake pads changed. 
  • Lights and Wipers: Your chances of being in an accident rise if you can’t see or be seen. Rapid blinking signals and dimming lights are indicators that you need new lights, while noise or streaking is an indication that it’s time for new wipers. Truck drivers must also keep maintenance log information.

Conclusion

It can be challenging to avoid a collision with a truck in some circumstances. Nevertheless, there are known solutions that, if used, could lower the likelihood of trucking accidents. Truck drivers and owners should take extra measures to avoid truck accidents.

Regular truck maintenance and servicing is a precautionary step. Also, drivers should stick to the hours of service violation. Technological developments in crash avoidance systems could also help. It can reduce the severity of the harm and injuries caused by these kinds of crashes, or help prevent trucking accidents.

Dylan Miller

I am a Chicago native and regular contributor to "Locar Deals" and "Cars Cache". I have a master's degree in English, am an automobile content creation specialist, and have written professionally for a variety of automotive companies over the past few years. I write on a variety of vehicles, from high-end luxury cars to ten-year-old gas guzzlers and everything in between. And I love sharing valuable car buying tips with consumers from all walks of life.

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