Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Common causes of truck accidents include driver negligence, poor maintenance, defective products, and so much more. Because there are so many potential causes and liable parties, these types of accidents tend to be much more complicated.
If you’ve suffered an injury or you’ve had to deal with the tragic loss of a loved one in a truck accident caused by another party’s negligence, the law firm of McEwen & Kestner is ready to help. We have a vast amount of experience in these kinds of cases, and we’ll work to get you every penny you have coming in compensation. You can contact us online for a free evaluation of your case, or you can give us a call at 800-732-3070.
There were more than 4,800 fatal truck accidents in 2020, and they resulted in nearly 5,000 fatalities. When you consider that was a pandemic year, and there were far fewer trucks on the road than normal, that gives you an idea of just how common these kinds of accidents really are. Collisions between commercial trucks and passenger cars will nearly always result in severe accidents – or worse.
Here are just some of the most common causes of truck accidents.
Even though truck drivers are at the helm of extremely complex, dangerous machines, they’re just as prone to being distracted as those who drive passenger vehicles. They’ll talk and text on their phone, eat and drink, fiddle with the radio dial, and much more. When they do, they lose focus on the task at hand – which is to get to their destination in the safest manner possible.
An attorney can obtain phone records to show that the trucker was on their phone at the time of the accident. If that proves to be the case, you may be able to sue the driver for your lost wages, medical bills, and other damages.
Drinking or Drug Use
It’s almost beyond comprehension that someone would try to drive an 80,000-pound behemoth while under the influence of drugs and alcohol, but that’s exactly what some truck drivers do. When they’re impaired, they can’t react quickly enough to sudden changes in the road. It doesn’t take much creativity to imagine what kinds of consequences can result.
Fatigued driving is one of the more common causes of truck accidents, especially as time restraints and hiring restrictions increase. Truck drivers will commonly try to stay behind the wheel for several hours at a time – far exceeding their physical and mental limitations in the process. You might have tried to drive when you were kind of tired after a hard day of work. Could you even fathom trying to drive a truck when you’re exhausted? You can see just how dangerous this kind of behavior can be.
Driving a truck is difficult enough when the roads are dry. When they’re iced over, covered in snow, or slick after a thunderstorm, the challenges get exponentially harder. But there are still some truck drivers who will still drive too fast, failing to adjust for road conditions. Or, they might be so inexperienced they really don’t know how to take the proper precautions. Still, others are driving trucks that haven’t been properly maintained, which just increases the risk of an accident when the weather doesn’t cooperate.
Speeding or Aggressive Driving
Just like everyone else who gets behind the wheel, truck drivers will sometimes drive over the speed limit. Some of them, however, take things to an extreme, driving so fast they’re a menace to everyone else on the road. A truck can hit a car with so much force that it can cause a devastating explosion. Speeding, as well as driving aggressively, increases the chances that a terrifying scenario can play out.
Unrealistic Time Constraints
Unrealistic time constraints include a few of the most common causes of truck accidents wrapped up under one umbrella.
One of the main reasons truck drivers speed is that they’re under ridiculously tight deadlines. Trucking companies care about one thing – making as much profit as they can. The only way they can do that is to move as much cargo as possible. This will often lead to drivers speeding, driving while fatigued, and exhibiting other incredibly dangerous behaviors.
Even though driving a truck can be lucrative, it’s also incredibly demanding. Drivers are often away from their loved ones for weeks or even months. Driving thousands of miles each week can also get monotonous.
Therefore, it’s not that surprising to learn there’s a major truck driver shortage in the US. Trucking companies are desperate and will often hire unqualified drivers as a result. They may not be completely familiar with how to operate a commercial rig, and they could easily make a mistake as a result. They could also overcompensate because they’re about to miss an exit on a route with which they’re unfamiliar. The truck could roll over, as a result, leading to a catastrophic wreck.
Negligent Hiring or Poor Training
Trucking companies are often in such a hurry to get those unqualified drivers behind the wheel that they don’t take the time to properly vet those drivers. They will also oftentimes only offer bare-bones training that can’t come close to getting the drivers ready for all possible road situations they may encounter.
When the cargo a truck is hauling is negligently loaded, it could easily come loose during transit. When this happens, that creates a sudden balance shift. This can cause the driver to lose control, with the truck destroying everything in its path.
Poor Truck Maintenance
Just like they’ll often cut corners in training new drivers, trucking companies will also cut corners when it comes to maintenance. After all, when a truck is in the shop, it’s not on the road making money. Many companies will ignore even the most basic maintenance, such as checking to make sure a truck’s tires are working properly. If a blowout occurs, the consequences could be tragic.
There are some instances where a truck accident can’t be blamed on either the driver, the company that owns the truck, or the company that loaded the vehicle. The manufacturer of a defective part, such as the brakes, could be held responsible if a failure of that part contributes to an accident.