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Category: Truck Accidents

What Causes Large Truck Accidents? | Call 24/7 for Support

Accidents involving big trucks usually cause severe injuries and damages, and sometimes the accidents are fatal. Truck accidents can happen due to several reasons and in any weather condition.

Driving an 18-wheeler can be challenging, so truck drivers must go through intense training and obtain special licensing. As such, the major causes of large truck accidents include driving under the influence, speeding, and distracted driving.

Six Common Causes in Large Truck Accidents

Data from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) indicate that most large truck accidents happen due to truck drivers being distracted or speeding. Other causes of large truck accidents include improper loading, defective truck parts, and truck companies failing to train their drivers adequately. In the FMCSA 2019 summary of large truck and bus accidents, the FMCSA indicated that large trucks accounted for nearly 5,000 fatal accidents.

The following are six common causes behind truck accidents:

Driving Under the Influence

It should be no surprise that driving under the influence contributes to accidents. Alcohol impairs judgment and slows reaction time, two qualities imperative to responsible driving. The surprise, though, is that it still happens to this day. Even with all the warnings, programs, and laws set in place, people are still driving drunk or driving under the influence of an illicit drug.

Distracted Driving

This cause has been on the rise with the recent addition of cell phones in our lives. States have enacted laws to curtail the distraction, making texting while driving illegal. Other states have gone as far as making the use of cellular technology only permitted via hands-free devices. Regardless, distracted driving is a serious issue and a major contributor to truck accidents today.

Speeding and Overtaking

Trucking accidents sometimes happen when a driver is speeding to meet tight deadlines. The trucker could drive faster than what’s suitable for a vehicle that size, or maybe the speed is not appropriate for the road conditions.

If you see in your rearview mirror an 18-wheeler speeding from behind, you’re going to act immediately to get out of its way. Typically, getting out of the 18-wheeler’s way means swerving off the road or changing to another lane, which could cause an accident.

Poor Training and Maintenance

There are regulations and requirements a truck driver must meet to qualify to drive commercial vehicles, yet some manage to operate trucks without meeting those requirements. For instance, big truck drivers require ample experience during bad weather, especially when maneuvering a large commercial truck. Poorly trained drivers often cause accidents on the road.

A trucking company must ensure each truck is inspected before starting its trip. However, the inspection doesn’t happen most of the time. Maintenance costs money and takes valuable time that companies instead use to make deliveries. Sometimes, the required routine maintenance is not done, and the truck operates without being safe on the road.

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Driver Fatigue

Driving a truck is a stressful and high-pressure job. Every so often, trucking companies will need drivers to deliver cargo to a particular destination in a short amount of time. That means the driver will cover a long distance with little rest and few breaks. As a result, the driver could lose coordination and concentration and be slower in reacting to road situations or fall asleep while driving.

The FMCSA has regulations that govern the number of hours a trucker is required to be on the road in one shift, time to take rest breaks, and the amount of sleep needed. However, most trucking companies don’t adhere to these regulations, and driver fatigue remains a significant road challenge.

Improper Cargo Loading

Each load must follow the specific size, weight, width, length, and height limits. There are even stricter regulations if a truck carries hazardous materials on how the cargo must be handled. However, errors and mistakes still happen, meaning a load can make a truck too heavy, causing the vehicle to overturn when making a turn. If the cargo is hazardous and falls onto the road, it can create a dangerous situation if it catches fire.

Common Truck Injuries

Truck accidents involving a passenger car have more devastating consequences than crashes involving two or more passenger vehicles. Here are some common injuries you can sustain from a truck accident:

  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Head and brain injuries
  • Back and neck injuries
  • Internal injuries
  • Amputation and disfigurement
  • Burns

After seeing your doctor, seek the services of a lawyer if you want to pursue an injury claim based on damages and injuries sustained. The lawyer will calculate the value of your claim and ensure the insurance company pays the amount of settlement you deserve.

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