Seven Common Causes of Trucking Accidents

Scartelli Olszewski P.C.

Large Truck Accidents on the rise

according to a report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 276,000 large trucks were involved in vehicle crashes in 2010. In fact, 3,675 people were killed and 80,000 people were injured in crashes involving large trucks (gross vehicle weight rating greater than 10,000 pounds).If a Pennsylvania driver knows the most common causes, he or she may be more likely to avoid a trucking accident. Below are seven of the most common causes of trucking accidents.

Truck Driver Action or Inaction Causes Truck Accidents

As we covered in a previous post, it has been determined that a driver’s action or inaction is to blame for a truck accident more than any other factor.Here are some common truck driver-related causes of truck accidents:

  1. Medication and alcohol. A driver’s use of prescription medications and/or illegal drug and alcohol use affects the truck driver’s ability to react in time to avoid an accident. Usage of drugs (both over the counter as well as prescription drugs) may also affect a driver’s ability to properly handle a large truck.
  2. Excessive speed. A truck driver speeds or drives too fast for weather conditions. Clearly a truck driver’s ability to stop the truck in time to avoid an accident is impeded by speeding.
  3. Roadway unfamiliarity. A truck driver’s unfamiliarity with the roadways: see Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.
  4. Inadequate surveillance. A truck driver’s inadequate surveillance can be to blame for a trucking accident. When a truck driver does not use his training to recognize and avoid dangers on the roadway, truck accidents occur. Failure to monitor truck blind spots, forgetting simple safety measures such as using a turn signal, distracted driving, keeping within a proper distance from other vehicles, etc., are examples of inadequate surveillance.
  5. Driver fatigue. Lack of sleep leaves truck drivers unable to properly handle their 18-wheelers and whatever they may encounter on the highways and roads. According to an FMCSA study called The Large Truck Crash Causation Study, 13 percent of Commercial Motor Vehicle drivers were considered to be fatigued at the time of their crash.

Mechanical and Environmental Reasons for Trucking Accidents

Although driver action or inaction accounts for a large percentage of truck accidents, it is not the only cause for a truck accident. Mechanical and environmental factors can also be to blame.

  1. Brake failure. The most notable mechanical cause of a truck accident is brake failure. Many factors, including driver operation of the brakes, the condition or age of the brakes, and/or how a truck is loaded, thereby affects brake performance and can be the culprit for a brake failure.
  2. Environment. Environmental factors also contribute to truck accidents. Some examples of these issues include: weather, traffic flow or congestion, roadway structure issues or changes in traffic patterns.

If You Are Involved in a Large Truck Accident

As you can see, the reasons behind large truck accidents are varied and complicated. Being aware of common causes of truck accidents will help you to avoid them in your future. Be a safe Pennsylvania driver and be aware of the truck drivers in your path. Give large trucks a very wide berth. If, however, you are unfortunate enough to be involved in a trucking accident, remember that one of the most important steps is to seek representation from a qualified, personal injury lawyer familiar with all the nuances of the law when a truck accident occurs in our state. To learn about other important information if you are involved in a truck crash in Pennsylvania, visit our informational FAQ titled What Should I Do If I Have Been Injured in a Truck Accident.