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What Are the Most Frequent Causes of Truck Accidents?

When there’s a motor vehicle accident involving a big rig, tractor-trailer, semi or 18-wheeler, the likelihood of serious or catastrophic injury is great. Though the maximum legal weight of an 18-wheeler is 40 tons, they are frequently overloaded, or loaded without adequate consideration of the distribution of weight in the trailer, making them extremely difficult to handle in a crisis. Because of increased concerns over the high rate of serious and injury and death in accidents involving commercial trucks, the federal Department of Transportation looked extensively at nearly 1,000 truck accidents, seeking to identify trends and patterns. Here’s what they found:

Most Truck Accidents Fall into One of Two Categories

The study, conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), determined that more than four out of five commercial truck accidents resulted from either driver error, or from problems with brakes or tires.

More than half of the accidents studied stemmed from carelessness or negligence by drivers (this includes truck drivers and drivers of other vehicles). The most frequent mistakes by drivers included:

  • Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs(including amphetamines to keep a driver awake)
  • Speeding
  • Failing to properly judge the speed of others on the road
  • Failing to allow adequate distance between vehicles
  • Distracted driving (using a hand-held device, texting, adjusting the stereo)
  • Failing to take reasonable or appropriate actions in a hazardous situation (often the result of poor or inadequate training
  • Crossing lanes or driving on the shoulder of the road

In about one third of the truck accidents investigated, the primary cause of the crash involving either brake or tire failure/defects. The study showed that this could involve a manufacturing defect, but that it also included failure to properly maintain tires or brakes. Investigators discovered that many drivers were using tires that did not meet minimum tread depth requirements, and that many were using mismatched tires, such as bias and radial tires, on the same axle.

At the law office of Michael J. Hood, LLC, we aggressively protect the rights of people hurt in truck accidents, helping you recover compensation for all your losses, including wages and income, medical expenses, loss of companionship or consortium, and physical pain and suffering. We take all types of claims, from sprains, strains and soft tissue trauma to serious and catastrophic loss, including wrongful death actions.

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To arrange a free initial consultation, contact us online or call our office at (302) 777-1000. Evening and weekend meetings can be arranged upon request. We will come to your home or the hospital, if necessary.