Common Truck Accident Causes

Truck accidents are some of the most devastating motor vehicle accidents that can happen on Virginia roadways. The size and momentum of semi-trucks, whether on the rural Route 58 or congested highways like Virginia’s I-264, or I-64, heighten the risk of serious personal injury and death when a collision occurs. If you have been injured, or if a loved one has been killed in a truck accident, you have a right to seek compensation for all of your losses. With more than five decades of combined experience, our Virginia truck accident attorneys at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers are committed to fighting for your rights to secure the financial help you need to make a full recovery.

Main Causes of Truck Accidents

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) compiles data on the leading causes of truck accidents. According to this data, the top 10 causes of tractor-trailer accidents are:

  • Prescription drug use
  • Speeding
  • Cellphone use
  • Unfamiliarity with roads
  • Bad weather
  • Over-the-counter drug use
  • Inadequate supervision or oversight
  • Driver fatigue
  • Blind spot
  • Illegal maneuvering
  • Exterior distraction
  • Inadequate evasive action
  • Tailgating
  • Aggressive driving

Each of these factors places the blame squarely on the shoulders of truck drivers themselves.

The Large Truck Crash Causation Study by the FMSCA found driver error accounted for 87 percent of all the crashes researched.

Types of Driver Mistakes

Four categories of driver critical reasons for truck crashes are listed in the report, namely:

  • Medical Reasons: A driver fell asleep at the wheel due to a factor like sleep apnea. He or she suffered a medical issue like a heart attack or seizure, or was physically impaired due to another pertinent reason.
  • Poor Recognition: The driver was distracted at the wheel of the truck, was inattentive or failed to notice a hazard that led to a vehicle crash, or failed to observe the impeding danger for another reason.
  • Bad Decision: A trucker driver was driving too fast for weather or road conditions, followed another vehicle too closely or misjudged the speed of other vehicles.
  • Performance: A driver overstreered, failed to judge an intersection on a turn, or displayed poor directional control of his big rig.

Non-Driver Related Causes of Tractor-Trailer Crashes

A truck driver may not always be responsible for the crash that injured you or led to the death of a loved one.  Other factors and parties are often equally liable for your injuries. They include:

  • Defective Parts: For example, if a defective truck part contributed to your accident, or if the truck did not receive proper maintenance, certain manufacturers and contractors may also be held accountable. We have seen instances in which defective truck tires shredded, causing serious accidents, or in which brakes have failed. In these cases, a manufacturer, a trucking company or a maintenance company could be held liable.
  • Imposing Unrealistic Work Schedules: The FMSCA imposes hours of service regulations which restrict the time a truck driver should spend behind the wheel as we detail here. Some trucking companies or drivers flout these and keep false records. Often trucking companies impose unrealistic schedules on drivers because they are concerned about their bottom line. The FMSCA lists driver fatigue as being among the top 10 causes of 18-wheeler and other truck crashes.
  • Improper Loading of a Truck: A shipping company is responsible for loading a tractor-trailer. There are onerous rules concerning the proper loading of a big rig. A truck driver is also responsible for basic safety checks for obvious signs of improper loading. If a truck is improperly loaded, it could be unbalanced and flip over, harming the driver or other road users. Items of cargo can fall off into the road and cause accidents. We have seen cases in which dangerous cargo such as aluminium rods were improperly secured and killed a trucker or other motorists.

Bottom line, if you are injured in a truck accident, you need an aggressive and experienced truck accident attorney on your side to ensure every potential contributing factor is evaluated and all responsible parties are identified and held accountable. When you hire John Cooper, Jim Hurley, Bill O’Mara or Griff O’Hanlon to take your case, you can count on a thorough investigation into the cause of your accident — and no stone left unturned in determining who is ultimately responsible for your injuries.

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