Causes of Truck Accidents

Though all traffic accidents pose a risk of severe injury or even death, truck accidents, in particular, can have devastating results. A large truck’s size, weight, and speed can cause catastrophic damage to human bodies and other vehicles. Such accidents can result from a wide range of causes.

Suppose you or someone you love has been severely injured or killed in a truck accident. In that case, you may have grounds to take legal action to seek financial compensation to pay medical bills, cover for lost income, and repair property damage.

Reach out to an experienced truck accident lawyer today to schedule a consultation to discuss your situation.

Overview of Truck Accidents

Semi-truck with burst tires on highway street, indicating a flat-out and damaged situation.

While more common roadway accidents involve standard personal vehicles, truck accidents involve one or more large commercial trucks (also known as big rigs, tractor-trailers, or 18-wheelers).

These vehicles, often carrying tens of thousands of pounds of cargo, can be incredibly dangerous when an accident occurs.

Understanding the causes of truck accidents can help you be more aware on the road and avoid potential crashes. It can also give you more knowledge about what type of case you may have in the event of an accident.

Though truck accidents, like any other type of traffic accident, can result from a nearly endless number of sources, this article aims to give you an overview of some of the more common causes.

Common Causes of Truck Accidents

A truck accident typically occurs on heavily traveled roadways such as highways and interstates. With these trucks traveling long distances across multiple states in relatively short amounts of time, various factors can lead to an accident.

Being aware of these causes can be helpful when navigating the road and seeking assistance from a truck accident lawyer if you have been in an accident.

Knowing how the accident happened can also help when it comes to determining which parties you can hold liable for the crash. Note how the following potential truck accident causes may apply to your situation.

Driver Fatigue

Tired truck drivers are one of the more common causes of accidents. Truck drivers often drive long distances and attempt to do so as quickly as possible — sometimes to the detriment of themselves and other drivers around them.

Some of the factors to consider regarding truck driver fatigue include:

  • Hours of Service Regulations – State and federal laws restrict a truck driver’s time behind the wheel in one sitting.
  • Impact of Long-Haul Routes – Cross-country trucking routes can lead to significant fatigue in drivers and an increased risk to others on the road.
  • Signs of Fatigue in Truck Drivers – Frequent swerving or drifting in and out of lanes or unintentional lane departures are common signs of a tired truck driver.

Truck drivers must know these factors and adhere to the regulations put in place to protect them and other drivers. Failure to do so can have devastating consequences.

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving has become a far more prevalent problem in recent years.

Things to consider regarding distracted driving include:

  • Use of Electronic Devices – Cell phones, tablets, and other devices can pose a significant risk of distracting truck drivers from watching the road.
  • In-Cab Distractions – Loud music, attempting to eat while driving, or even conversing with passengers can lead to a truck driver not paying attention.
  • Legal Consequences for Distracted Driving – Potential consequences of distracted driving can include fines, civil liability, or even criminal charges.

Distracted driving can not only put the truck driver at risk of causing an accident but also threaten the safety of everyone on the road. Ask your lawyer about your options if you believe the truck driver involved in your accident was distracted.


Truck drivers are prone to the same types of habits as any other vehicle operator, including exceeding the legal speed limit. A speeding big rig, however, can pose much more danger on the road.

Factors to consider regarding speeding include:

  • Pressure to Keep a Tight Schedule – Truck drivers may feel intense pressure from their employers to quickly take a load to its intended destination.
  • Effect of Speeding on Stopping Distance – A truck carrying multiple tons of cargo can be difficult to stop, with high speeds increasing the time needed.
  • Speeding Violations & Penalties – As with any driver violating the speed limit, truck drivers can face fines, license suspensions, and potential criminal charges.
  • Driving Too Fast For Conditions – Even if a truck driver is within the speed limit, the road, weather, or traffic conditions may require a slower speed

A speeding truck can pose a catastrophic danger to others, with a high-speed accident having the potential to cause life-altering or fatal injuries.

Poor Weather Conditions

Inclement weather is one of the more common factors outside of a truck driver’s control. In different parts of the country, drivers must navigate roadways in less-than-ideal environments, with conditions sometimes becoming so extreme that they can cause accidents.

Truck speeding on wet road in bad weather conditions after heavy rain.

Things to consider regarding poor weather conditions include:

  • Challenges of Inclement Weather – Rain, snow, ice, high-velocity winds, and other weather events can diminish visibility, stopping capabilities, and other aspects of driving.
  • Importance of Adapting Driving Habits – Weather can affect roadway safety, and a truck driver should always adapt their speed and level of caution. This ties into the above discussion regarding driving too fast for conditions. 
  • Liability Issues in Weather-Related Accidents – Weather conditions can add another layer of complexity when establishing fault on the driver’s part.

If the truck accident that injured you occurred in inclement weather, there may be additional obstacles to clear in your search for compensation. Your lawyer will explain this to you and guide you through the process.

Inadequate Training

Though it may go without saying, proper training for commercial truck drivers is crucial to maintaining safety for truck drivers and other people on the road.

Some essential factors to consider regarding truck driver training include:

  • Importance of Proper Training – If a trucking company fails to train its drivers properly, the consequences can be disastrous for the driver and others on the road.
  • Regulations & Standards for Commercial Driver Training – Besides adhering to standard traffic laws and driver safety, truck drivers must follow strict rules.
  • Legal Implications of Inadequate Training – If there is proof that the truck driver did not receive proper training, the driver and the company may be held responsible.

Your attorney can investigate the details of your accident to determine if insufficient training played a role. If it did, your lawyer can hold the trucking company and the driver accountable.

Mechanical Failure and Maintenance Issues

While it seems likely that the responsible party for a truck accident is the driver or the company that employs the driver, there are some instances when neither the driver nor the trucking company may be at fault, but rather the manufacturer or maintenance provider for the truck itself.

Brake Failures

Any vehicle depends on its ability to brake safely on the road. Accidents are significantly more probable if a vehicle cannot adequately stop when needed.

Some factors to consider regarding truck brake failures include:

  • Importance of Regular Brake Maintenance – Trucking companies must have regular brake maintenance and inspections on all vehicles to promote safety.
  • Signs of Potential Brake Issues – Squealing or grinding sounds when a truck’s brakes are engaged or reduced stopping capabilities are signs that brakes can fail.
  • Liability in Brake Failure Incidents – Multiple parties, including the trucking company or maintenance provider, can be held liable for an accident caused by brake failure.

Your lawyer’s investigation of your accident, as well as police reports from the crash, can help determine if brake failure played a role.

Tire Blowouts

Tires wear out on any type of vehicle. Still, on a large commercial truck that regularly travels thousands of miles in a short time while carrying heavy loads, tire maintenance takes on an even higher priority.

Factors to consider regarding truck tire blowouts include:

  • Causes of Tire Blowouts – Wear and tear, inspection failures, punctures, and other factors can result in a truck tire blowout, which may, in turn, cause a truck accident.
  • Importance of Tire Maintenance – Regular tire inspections, maintenance, and replacement should be a part of every trucking company’s standard practice.
  • Liability in Accidents Caused by Tire Blowouts – Potentially responsible parties in truck accidents caused by tire blowouts include the trucking company or the tire manufacturer.

Tire blowouts are a common occurrence that leads to many truck accidents. If you suffered an injury in a truck accident because of a tire blowout, hire a truck accident lawyer to learn more about the best course of action.

Regulatory Compliance and Violations

Trucking companies are legally responsible for adhering to strict regulations. Failure to remain in compliance with these regulations can result in not only serious truck accidents but also significant legal liability.

Some of the regulatory standards trucking companies must follow are limiting hours of service by drivers and closely monitoring cargo weight.

Hours of Service Violations

As mentioned above, the law regulates the number of consecutive hours a truck driver may be behind the wheel. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in driver fatigue, leading to trucking accidents.

Factors to consider regarding hours of service violations include:

  • Overview of Hours of Service Regulations Both federal and state laws limit the number of consecutive hours and hours per week a driver may work.
  • Common Violations & Consequences – If a load of cargo needs to reach its destination urgently or if a driver is falling behind, it may lead to violating hours of service limits.
  • Impact on Liability – If a driver or company is guilty of violating the hours of service regulations, it can increase the chances of the driver or company being liable.

Your lawyer can request service logs to determine if there were any violations of the hours of service regulations.

Weight Limit Violations

Commercial trucking must adhere to strict regulations regarding how much weight a truck can carry. Exceeding these weight limits can have devastating consequences on roadway safety.

Factors to consider regarding truck weight limit violations include:

  • Importance of Compliance with Weight Limits – Besides fines and other penalties for exceeding weight limits, excessive weight can make it difficult for trucks to stop.
  • Consequences for Exceeding Weight Limits – A truck exceeding the cargo weight limit can compromise its ability to stop safely and quickly.
  • Liability in Accidents Related to Weight Violations – Liability can vary depending on who is to blame for the weight violations (the driver, the company, or another party).

If an overweight truck caused the accident that injured you, your lawyer can advise you on the necessary steps.

Trust an Experienced Truck Accident Lawyer for Help

Personal Injury Lawyer
Truck Accident Lawyer, Matthew H. Bligh

A truck accident can feel overwhelming, whether you are the injured party or dealing with the effects of an injury or fatality suffered by a loved one. Having the help of a knowledgeable truck accident lawyer is crucial when it comes to navigating the often complicated legal landscape.

If you have suffered physical or financial harm in a truck accident, you have the opportunity to seek justice through legal action. A skilled truck accident attorney can assess your situation, explain the legal options available, and lead you in the right direction as you pursue the outcome you deserve.

During a case evaluation, a personal injury attorney will review the details of your accident and assess the strength of your potential claim.

They will consider negligence, liability, and damages to determine if you have a case worth pursuing. This initial consultation allows you to understand your legal options and make an informed decision on how to proceed.

By taking advantage of a free case evaluation, you can gain valuable insights into your situation and the likelihood of a successful claim. It’s an opportunity to speak with a professional who understands the complexities of truck accident cases and can provide guidance based on their expertise.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to a truck accident lawyer and get your free consultation. It’s an important first step towards seeking the compensation you deserve for your injuries and damages. Remember, time is of the essence when it comes to filing a claim, so don’t delay in taking action.

Filed Under: Truck Accidents

For a free legal consultation, call 516-451-7900

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