If you’ve been the victim of a trucking accident, you might not only be facing serious injuries but also questions about what caused the accident and who is responsible. Understanding some of the common causes of trucking accidents can help you determine whether you might have a valid injury claim.
Drivers of large trucks are 10 times more likely to cause an accident than other factors such as bad weather, adverse road conditions, and poor vehicle performance, according to a study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The study found that action (or inaction) by drivers was the reason for approximately 88 percent of collisions, and the most common causes of trucking accidents are driver fatigue and sleep deprivation.
Another common cause of truck accidents is equipment failure due to issues such as defective tires or design flaws. However, most accidents with mechanical causes actually result from failure to properly maintain the equipment, such as:
- Removing or depowering front brakes
- Failing to replace worn tires
- Improper load securing or distribution
- Improper trailer attachment
- Transmission or brake failure
Adverse weather conditions have a major impact on the safety of large trucks. Because of their size and weight, braking distance is often hampered in bad weather, and even in the best of conditions, big trucks cannot be stopped as quickly or steered as easily as passenger cars.
When a trucks load is not secured or distributed correctly on the trailer, the load may become unbalanced, a big problem if the truck is overweight, the load falls off the truck, or causes the truck to topple over onto the roadway into other lanes of traffic.
Contrary to common belief, all trucking accidents are not the fault of the truck driver. According to Justia, more than 75 percent of all trucking accidents are not caused by truckers, but by the negligent actions of those driving passenger vehicles, such as:
- Driving in the blind spots of trucks
- Aggressive driving
- Following too closely
- Distracted driving
- Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol
Federal laws have been enacted to more closely regulate the trucking industry by imposing strict requirements on truck drivers, trucking companies and truck manufacturers. In addition to enforcing extensive licensing requirements, trucking laws also attempt to regulate the number of hours a truck driver may drive at one time. By forcing drivers to rest between shifts, trucking laws seek to decrease the number of accidents caused by driver fatigue, and make the roads safer for all.