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What Are the Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents?

Attorney Zach Herschensohn explains

Whether you were injured in a collision with an 18-wheeler caused by an inexperienced truck driver or a hurt in a crash with a semi-truck because the trucker was speeding, attorney Zach Herschensohn will fight to prove negligence and get you maximum compensation.

The Herschensohn Law Firm, PLLC has won millions in settlements and verdicts for injury victims throughout the Seattle metro area and knows how to build a strong case on your behalf that will command attention. See what an aggressive and experienced Kent truck accident attorney can do for you. Contact us today for your free consultation.

Truck accidents can happen for a lot of different reasons, often due to negligence by a trucker, trucking company, shipping company, broker, or truck manufacturer. Getting injured in a crash with a semi-truck or tractor-trailer can change your life forever – and if your accident was due to the irresponsible actions of others, it’s important to take strong legal action to hold the at-fault parties accountable.

10 common causes of truck accidents

Truckers are supposed to be professional drivers who operate their vehicles safely. Unfortunately, some truck drivers and trucking companies are irresponsible and cause crashes that result in horrific injuries and thousands of dollars in property damage. Some of the most common causes of truck accidents include:

  1. Impaired or drunk driving: Employers are legally required to perform random drug tests on their truckers for a simple and obvious reason – large commercial vehicles can be deadly weapons. If a truck driver drives under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it impairs their ability to safely operate an 18-wheeler, which puts the trucker, people in other vehicles, and pedestrians all in danger.
  2. Fatigue: A lot of truckers are required to work for long and irregular hours, and many truck drivers end up lacking sleep. They drive long distances and face pressure from their employers to meet strict deadlines, which often causes them to become overworked and overtired. Being fatigued means the trucker’s reaction time is slowed, they can’t concentrate on the road ahead, and they are at risk of falling asleep behind the wheel of the tractor-trailer. While the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has strict regulations in place regarding the number of hours a trucker can driver each day and per week, a lot of truckers break the rules due to pressure from their employer.
  3. Distracted driving: Some truckers get complacent and think it’s OK to multitask while they drive, which can lead to a distracted driving crash. Texting or talking on a phone is the deadliest form of distracted driving, but other distractions include:
  • Eating and drinking
  • Adjusting the radio or programming a GPS
  • Talking to a passenger
  • Looking out the window, aka “rubbernecking”
  • Listening to loud music
  • Reaching for something

There’s evidence that shows a distracted driver is just as dangerous as a drunk driver. While it can be tough to stay focused on the road for hours and hours at a time, truckers are professional drivers who are held to a higher standard.

  1. Speeding: A truck driver who is speeding will not be able to come to a complete stop or maneuver the 18-wheeler as safely as a trucker who is following the speed limit. This puts the truck driver at risk of losing control of the tractor-trailer and causing a bad accident. Taking a turn too quickly or going too fast down a hill can also cause a trucker to lose control of the tractor-trailer and crash.
  2. Blind spot collisions: On average, 18-wheelers are around 70-80 feet in length, 8.5 feet wide, and around 13.5 feet high – meaning it can be tough for a truck driver to see smaller cars in adjacent lanes if they aren’t careful. That’s why it’s important for truckers to make sure they have enough room when changing lanes or merging. A truck driver who doesn’t signal or look for other vehicles before changing lanes can force a collision or cause another driver to veer off the road and get injured.
  3. Mechanical failure: If a semi-truck or 18-wheeler has a mechanical defect like faulty brakes or defective tires, it can contribute to a truck accident that causes severe injury. If the defect was caused due to negligence by a truck manufacturer, that company could be held liable for damages.
  4. Inadequate maintenance: While some mechanical defects are caused by the irresponsible actions of a truck manufacturer, other times they are the result of poor maintenance by a trucking company. Before every trip, an 18-wheeler should be thoroughly inspected for:
  • Engine problems
  • Transmission issues
  • Appropriate fluid levels
  • Running headlights and exterior trailer lights
  • Secured mirrors
  • Wear and tear on wheels and tires
  • Faulty underride guards
  • Defective or worn out brakes
  • Hydraulic line issues
  • Functioning windshield wipers

Some trucking companies cut corners to save money and don’t regularly maintain or inspect their commercial vehicles, which can lead to a bad accident that injures or kills someone else.

  1. Unqualified or inexperienced drivers: If an employer doesn’t do their due diligence during the hiring process or tries to save money by hiring an unqualified or inexperienced driver, it can result in that driver causing a bad accident. Some trucking companies don’t do a thorough background check on potential truck drivers and put truckers with a checkered past or a history of moving violations behind the wheel of a 40-ton 18-wheeler. Other times they don’t even check to see if the driver has a valid Commercial Driver’s License (CDL).
  2. Dangerous weather conditions: Whether the road is slick from snow, sleet and ice or heavy rain is causing visibility issues, truckers are supposed to be prepared to safely maneuver their tractor-trailers through any conditions. Failure to adjust for inclement weather – even something such as strong wind – might result in the truck driver losing control of the 18-wheeler and causing a collision.
  3. Improper cargo load: An underweight, overweight, or unbalanced cargo load can cause a lot of problems for a trucker and lead to a bad accident. Being able to handle momentum for stops, corners, and turns is critical to the truck driver’s ability to maintain control of the 18-wheeler.

Injured in a truck accident? Herschensohn Law Firm, PLLC will fight for you.

If you’ve been hurt in a collision with an 18-wheeler or semi-truck, you might face a lot of challenges. You’re injured. You can’t work. You’ve got piles of unpaid medical bills and you’re running out of money. You’re overwhelmed from it all and unsure of what to do next.

Let our law firm help you. Kent truck accident attorney Zach Herschensohn has experience handling complicated cases involving crashes with semi-trucks and tractor-trailers. He’ll fight to get you maximum compensation – whether it’s advocating for your needs in negotiation talks or representing you in front of a judge and jury. Best of all? We work on a contingency fee basis. That means you don’t pay anything unless we win. Get Herschensohn Law Firm, PLLC in your corner and give yourself an advantage. Contact us today for your free consultation.

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