Common Causes of Commercial Trucking Accidents

Common Causes of Commercial Trucking Accidents

Because of their enormous size and weight, commercial truck accidents are generally more serious than wrecks between passenger vehicles. Even at slow speeds, the mass of these vehicles can wreak havoc on a small car or truck.  For the same reason, the injuries sustained in a truck accident are frequently catastrophic – even life changing.

The most common cause of tractor trailer accidents is driver error, and typically fall into one of the following four major categories:

  • Driver Health: Physical factors such as driving under the influence of drugs or alcoholdrowsy driving, or other illness;
  • Bad Decisions: Tailgating, speeding, aggressive driving, etc.
  • Poor Performance: Poor control of the vehicle, failure to appreciate or properly judge speed and distance factors, overcompensation, etc.
  • Inattentiveness: Distracted driving, inattention, etc.

Another major cause of truck or bus accidents is equipment failure. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has strict regulations which govern inspection and maintenance of trucks, as well as the types of loads they are allowed to carry and how those loads must be secured.

Examples of crashes caused by equipment failure may include any of the following:

  • Faulty brakes
  • Broken headlights or taillights
  • Worn tires
  • Failure of the steering mechanism or coupling system
  • Failure of tie downs, causing loads to be spilled onto the roadway

In addition, improperly loaded or overloaded trucks may result in the load shifting during transit, causing the truck to rollover or swerve. This is especially dangerous if the load contains hazardous materials. Trucks that lose their loads can also cause accidents. Often, lack of maintenance and overloading of trucks is the result of attempts by trucking companies to boost profits by cutting safety corners.

Weather and Road Conditions

Poor weather and road surface conditions are also frequently cited factors in tractor-trailer accidents. Truck drivers cover great distances and must keep watch on the weather they will likely encounter over the entire length of their journey. A fully loaded truck traveling 65 mph requires the length of two football fields stopping distance under ideal conditions.  Inclement weather conditions like heavy rain, snow, and ice increase those stopping distances, and high winds can cause a truck to overturn.

Poor road conditions such as potholes, inadequate lighting, lack of signage and road markings, animal crossings, obstacles such as downed trees or stranded vehicles, all create significant risks for an accident. While smaller passenger vehicles may have no trouble maneuvering in and around these hazards, the size and weight of a big rig or bus put it at a disadvantage when faced with poor road conditions.  And all too often, truck drivers misjudge the situation or travel at speeds which are unsafe for the conditions in an effort to meet unrealistic employer deadlines or recover “time” based bonuses.

Truck accidents can inflict serious injuries that require long courses of medical treatment and rehabilitation. Proving liability in a trucking accident is complicated.  Responsibility may need to be divided amongst multiple parties, including the driver of the truck, the owner of the truck, the trucking company, etc., and will involve many documents which can be lost or destroyed in as little as six (6) months from the date of the crash.  Other important data, such as the
truck’s “black box”, may be lost forever if not accessed immediately after the crash.  As such, it is highly advisable for anyone who has suffered injuries to retain an experienced truck accident lawyer immediately to help them navigate the legal process following a truck accident.

Middlesex County Truck Accident Lawyers at Davis & Brusca, LLC Help Injured Victims of Truck Accidents

If you have been injured in a truck accident caused by the negligence of another party, you may be eligible for compensation for your injuries. Our truck accident lawyers in Middlesex County at Davis & Brusca, LLC can provide you with excellent legal representation so that you can focus on your recovery. Contact us online or call 609-786-2540 to schedule an appointment in our Princeton, New Jersey offices.

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