What Are the Common Causes of Truck Accidents?
We know that not all truck drivers are unsafe. However, it’s often those who are negligent who provide cause for concern on the roads. Roughly 20% of truck accidents that occur are due to reckless truck drivers or the companies who employ them and put profit over safety. It’s crucial for those who suffer harm to recognize some of the more common causes of these types of crashes.
When seeking compensation, causation is one of the most vital factors. You should obtain as much evidence as possible to seek out the maximum compensation available to you. To help you understand your options, we’ll explain the most common causes of truck accidents involving those in the trucking industry.
The most common causes include:
- Fatigued drivers
- Drivers under the influence
- Overloaded or uneven cargo
- Lack of experience
- Maintenance failures
- Employer negligence
As committed attorneys, it’s our goal to not only prove causation but also to help you along the path to pursue the rightful compensation you deserve.
If you suffer injuries in a truck accident, we’ll work to safeguard your rights. Call us today at (503) 543-1114.
You will see posted speed limits alongside just about every road and highway throughout the country. Some even have lower designated speeds for large commercial trucks compared to passenger vehicles. Unfortunately, not all drivers follow these speed limits, truck drivers included. When they don’t, they put all others at risk of significant harm.
A speeding truck weighing up to 80,000 can cause some of the most catastrophic and fatal injuries, and anyone in the truck’s path can suffer the impact. Truck drivers must abide by these speed limits, but they’re often in a time crunch to make deliveries by a specific date and time. They speed up to pass other, slower trucks.
Large trucks have a more difficult time stopping. If a truck driver speeds while approaching traffic, they may be unable to stop in time to prevent a devastating accident.
The trucking industry has an Hours of Operation regulation that drivers must abide by to stay safe. Unfortunately, with high demands on drivers to meet deadlines, they often drive longer than they should. As a result, a driver may feel tired behind the wheel of an 80,000-pound vehicle.
If a truck driver begins to fall asleep at the wheel, they may swerve into other lanes, fail to brake when necessary, and otherwise lose control of their truck. Any driver in the nearby vicinity is at significant risk of catastrophic injuries, including head trauma, spinal cord damage, broken bones, and in some cases, death.
Drivers Under the Influence
Most truck drivers remain safe, but some drivers may use alcohol or drugs when they shouldn’t. Drinking and driving is a common problem for nearly all drivers, but intoxication becomes an even bigger problem when someone is operating a large commercial truck.
Some truck drivers may use drugs to stay awake much longer and drive to their next destination. However, doing so often results in drivers experiencing decision-making issues, reduced reaction time, and other cognitive problems that make them dangerous to others and themselves.
Overloaded or Uneven Cargo
When employees load cargo into trailers, they must factor in weight limits and potential dangers which may arise because of overloaded or unevenly loaded trucks on the road. If one side is loaded heavier than the other, the uneven weight distribution can cause the truck to turn over in heavy winds or sharper turns. Not only is this a danger to the truck driver, but it can also cause harm to nearby drivers.
A truck that is too heavy can also turn over, but there’s also a significant risk of a detached trailer accident. The more substantial load can cause wear on the hitch. As these heavier trucks travel uphill, the hitch may fail, and the trailer may detach. The drivers behind the trailer may not prepare for this to occur, and they can have trouble stopping before a crash occurs.
Lack of Experience
Driving is never an easy task, no matter the size of the vehicle. Drivers must know laws and defensive driving tactics to keep themselves safe. In the trucking industry, all truck drivers have to start somewhere. When a driver obtains their commercial driver’s license, it’s a sign that they have undergone intense training, but nothing can truly prepare a driver for what can arise.
A lack of experience can be one of the biggest problems for a driver and all others on the road. All new truck drivers must pay close attention to speed limits, scan the roads and highways ahead of them, understand where their blind spots are, and follow laws and regulations.
Trucking company owners, truck drivers, and others in the industry all play a role in ensuring that the truck is safe for operation. Inspection and maintenance are critical parts of the process because they allow the company to recognize any potential defects and failures. Without maintenance, significant issues can arise on the road, making it difficult for drivers to safeguard themselves and others.
Here’s what maintenance should include:
- Checking tires, brakes, axles, steering systems, hitches, and more.
- Identifying any potential problems that may exist on the truck.
- Performing repairs to any problem areas to keep the truck roadworthy before each trip.
Overlooking maintenance can make multiple parties responsible for a crash that occurs. Working with a lawyer who has experience in identifying product defects can help you understand causation in your accident and determine who you may hold responsible for a crash.
Even when drivers operate longer than they should or speed, it’s not always on their own accord. In many cases, employers may pressure drivers to meet deadlines, threatening their jobs if they don’t. Even more, some employers may try to save money by utilizing more inexperienced drivers. In these cases, employers hold some liability for their decisions when a crash occurs.
Employers in the trucking industry must ensure they are doing everything they can to keep their employees, drivers, and others safe. Failure to do so is negligence, and they should be held fully accountable for their actions.
At The Gatti Law Firm, we’re well aware of how truck accidents happen. Even more, we know who to hold accountable when they happen. We work with injured parties to help seek the most favorable outcomes possible when it matters most. Our clients trust us to be in their corner during the most challenging situations, seeking justice and compensation.
Remember, trucking companies have large legal teams trying to protect their best interests. Insurance companies that represent trucking companies still want to protect profits, meaning they’re not looking out for those who suffer significant injuries. We are the ones who look out for the injured, and we’ve helped countless people stake claim to the compensation they deserve.
Our Oregon truck accident attorneys go above and beyond to find the root of the accident. Our team works to prove a duty of care, a breach of that duty, causation, and damages. If you suffer severe harm, trust that our team stands by your side throughout the entire process. We’ll be your trusted advocates and provide you with a voice to stand against negligence.