Firm News & Events arrow Common Causes of Truck Accidents

Paul M. D'Amore
Paul M. D'Amore

Founding Member, Trial Lawyer

Common Causes of Truck Accidents

Collisions involving trucks often have catastrophic consequences. The sheer size of commercial trucks, with some weighing over 30,000 pounds, makes other motorists vulnerable to severe injuries and fatalities. Catastrophic collisions are often caused by large trucks, including:

  • • Tractor-trailers
  • • Garbage trucks 
  • • Tow trucks
  • • Tanker trucks
  • • Flatbed trucks
  • • Cement mixers

Passenger cars which, on average, weigh around 4,000 pounds, are no match for big rigs on the road. A truck accident is more likely to result in fatalities than a crash between two passenger cars. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 5,005 people died in 2019 in large truck accidents. In Maryland, there were 765 large trucks involved in fatal crashes in 2019, with 59 reported fatalities.

Most truck accidents are preventable. They are mainly caused by driver error. Here are some of the common errors that can lead to truck accidents:

Speeding
Truck drivers have deadlines that their employers expect them to meet. Such guidelines may force truck drivers to speed and carelessly overtake other vehicles to get to their destination.

Speeding makes it harder to control a truck when unexpected hazards present themselves. Seeing a tractor-trailer speeding in your rearview mirror isn't a pleasant sight for any driver. Such reckless actions put the lives of everyone on the road in jeopardy.

Fatigued Driving
Truck driving is a high-pressure job. Nonetheless, employers and drivers need to follow regulations to ensure drivers don't experience burnout. Tired truckers ought to rest rather than risk their lives, and the lives of others, by driving while fatigued.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration requires that property-carrying drivers do not drive for more than 11 hours after a 10-hour break. Disregarding regulations governing hours of service for truckers can result in truck accidents. Company culture, scheduling operations, and personal will are some of the factors that contribute to driver fatigue.

An experienced truck accident lawyer can look into police reports, logbooks, a truck's black box, toll receipts, and gas receipts to prove a truck driver worked in excess of this 11-hour limit.

Insufficient Vehicle Maintenance
Out-of-service tractor-trailers can be a hazard to others on the road. It is the responsibility of trucking companies to inspect, repair, and maintain their trucks to avoid accidents while on the road. Trucking companies, part manufacturers, and engineers are some parties that might be held liable in the case of an accident involving a truck.

Some of the common issues that can lead to a tractor-trailer accident include:

  • • Defective brakes
  • • Steering problems
  • • Suspension issues
  • • Bald tires
  • • Brake fluid leaks

Distracted Driving
Distracted driving is a reckless and illegal action. Drivers on Maryland roads should pay attention to the road at all times. At no point should one lose focus and start succumbing to distractions while driving. Taking one's eyes off the road can result in a catastrophic truck accident, leading to fatalities and extensive property damage.

Actions like eating, texting, programming a GPS, staring at a billboard, or talking to other vehicle occupants can affect one's concentration. If you take your eyes off the road for five seconds while traveling at 55mph to read a social media post, you've just driven the length of a football field without watching where you were going.

A truck crash lawyer can advise you on your legal options after a distracted driving accident in Baltimore, MD.

Harsh Weather Conditions
Inclement weather can make it hard for a truck driver to see their surroundings and control their vehicle. Fog, ice, snow, and rain are conditions that all drivers should be wary of. During inclement weather events, it is advisable to drive slowly and carefully. Remember to keep a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front of you at all times, but especially in case of harsh weather.

Driving Under the Influence
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is illegal in Maryland. Truck drivers can be charged with driving while impaired (DWI) if their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.04% or greater.

A drunk driver takes longer to react. They may also make incorrect judgments, leading to a severe crash.

Inadequate Driver Training
It is the responsibility of employers to hire qualified and experienced drivers to operate their commercial trucks. Negligent hiring of truckers can result in truck accidents. Commercial truck companies should also conduct training sessions to ensure drivers learn appropriate techniques, like defensive driving. If a trucking company trains their drivers inadequately, resulting in a crash, they may be liable for damages.

Tailgating
A semi that's driving too close to you may lose control at any time, especially if they're speeding or going downhill. It may be hard for such a driver to brake, resulting in a jackknife or rear-end accident.

Driving in the "No Zone" — the blind spot at a truck's rear end where the truck driver has limited or no visibility of other vehicles — is also dangerous. An underride accident may occur if the truck driver applies emergency brakes. Additionally, driving between two large trucks ought to be avoided.


Contact a Truck Accident Lawyer Today To Find Out If You Have a Case

Truck accidents can lead to severe and catastrophic injuries. Effects of truck collisions, like amputations or spinal cord injuries, may cause permanent disability or force you to leave your job. During such trying times, it isn't easy to know what to do and who to turn to. A truck accident lawyer can file your claim before the statute of limitations for personal injury cases bars you from receiving fair compensation for your damages.

D'Amore Personal Injury Law can guide you throughout the personal injury claims process. Schedule your free review today to find out if you have a case. An experienced truck accident lawyer is prepared to answer all your questions.

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