The Most Common Ways Truck Drivers Cause Accidents

May 24, 2024 | By DJC Law Attorneys
The Most Common Ways Truck Drivers Cause Accidents

Trucks are common on all our roads and highways, transporting goods and materials across the country. While many truck drivers are skilled and responsible professionals, truck accidents can and do happen. When they do, the consequences can be devastating, given the size and weight of these massive vehicles.

Here are some of the most common ways truck drivers cause accidents and what you can do if you or a loved one has suffered an injury in a commercial truck crash. After you seek medical attention, never wait to discuss the next steps with an experienced truck accident lawyer.

Schedule A Free Consultation

Driver Fatigue

Truck Driver Fatigue

One of the most common causes of truck accidents is driver fatigue. Truck drivers often work long hours and drive for extended periods, which can lead to exhaustion and drowsiness behind the wheel. When drivers are tired, their reaction time is slower, their judgment is impaired, and they are more likely to make mistakes or fall asleep while driving.

To help prevent driver fatigue, strict regulations limit the number of hours a truck driver can work and drive each day and each week. These regulations, known as hours-of-service (HOS) rules, require drivers to take regular breaks and get a certain amount of rest between shifts.

However, some truck drivers and trucking companies violate these rules to meet tight deadlines or maximize profits. This can lead to drivers pushing themselves beyond their limits and putting themselves and others on the road at risk.

If you've had an accident with a tired or drowsy truck driver, it's important to investigate whether the driver or their employer complied with HOS regulations. Investigating whether the driver or their employer complied with HOS regulations is crucial, as violations can be evidence of negligence in a legal claim.

Distracted Driving

Another common cause of truck accidents is distracted driving. Just like any other driver, truck drivers can be distracted by a wide range of things, including:

  • Cell phones and other electronic devices
  • Eating or drinking
  • Adjusting the radio or navigation system
  • Looking at maps or paperwork
  • Talking to passengers or other drivers on the road

When a truck driver takes their eyes off the road, even for a few seconds, they can travel the length of a football field without realizing it. This can lead to serious accidents, especially if the driver fails to notice slowing or stopped traffic ahead of them.

To help prevent distracted driving, many trucking companies have policies prohibiting drivers from using cell phones or other electronic devices while behind the wheel. Some trucks also have cameras or other monitoring systems to detect when a driver is distracted and alert them to pay attention to the road. However, these efforts do not curb all distractions or resulting crashes.

If you've had an accident with a distracted truck driver, your truck accident lawyer might gather evidence of the driver's behavior, such as witness statements, phone records, or video footage from the truck's onboard cameras.

Speeding and Reckless Driving

Speeding and reckless driving are also common causes of truck accidents. When a truck travels too fast for conditions or weaves in and out of traffic, it can be difficult for the driver to maintain control of the vehicle, especially if they need to make a sudden stop or maneuver.

Truck drivers may speed or drive recklessly for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Trying to meet tight delivery deadlines
  • Feeling pressure from their employer to drive faster or longer than is safe
  • Frustration with traffic or road conditions
  • Overconfidence in their driving abilities

Regardless of the reason, speeding and reckless driving put everyone on the road at risk. Trucks are much larger and heavier than passenger vehicles, requiring more time and distance to slow down or stop. When a speeding truck collides with another vehicle, the results can be catastrophic.

After an accident with a speeding or reckless truck driver, your truck accident attorney can obtain evidence of the driver's behavior, such as witness statements, traffic camera footage, or data from the truck's onboard computer system.

Improper Loading or Maintenance

Another common cause of truck accidents is improper loading or maintenance of the vehicle. Trucks carry heavy loads, which must be properly balanced and secured to prevent shifting or tipping during transport.

If a truck's cargo is not loaded correctly, it can cause the vehicle to become unstable and more difficult to control. This can lead to accidents such as rollovers, jackknifes, or collisions with other vehicles.

Similarly, if a truck is not properly maintained, it can develop mechanical problems that increase the risk of an accident. For example, if a truck's brakes are not regularly inspected and serviced, they may fail when the driver needs them most, leading to a collision.

Trucking companies are responsible for ensuring their vehicles are properly loaded and maintained, and their drivers know how to load and unload safely. If you've had an accident caused by improper loading or maintenance, investigating whether the trucking company or its employees were negligent in their duties is important.

Inexperienced or Poorly Trained Drivers

Finally, inexperienced or poorly trained drivers can also cause truck accidents. Driving a commercial truck is a challenging and demanding job requiring high skill and knowledge. Drivers must handle large, heavy vehicles in various weather and road conditions and be familiar with complex regulations and safety procedures.

However, some trucking companies may cut corners when hiring and training drivers, putting inexperienced or poorly qualified individuals behind the wheel. This can lead to accidents caused by driver error, such as failing to check blind spots, misjudging distances, or not knowing how to properly navigate challenging road conditions.

A truck accident lawyer can investigate the truck driver's qualifications and training and the trucking company's hiring and training practices. Negligent hiring or training can be evidence of liability in a legal claim.

What to Do If You've Suffered Injuries in a Truck Accident

If you or a loved one has had an accident with a commercial truck, it's important to take certain steps to protect your legal rights and seek the compensation you deserve. You should also avoid certain things that might jeopardize your claim.

Here are some key things to keep in mind, and your truck accident lawyer can provide additional advice on what do and not do.

Seek Medical Attention

If you've been in a truck accident, seeking medical attention should be your top priority. Even if you feel fine or think your injuries are minor, get evaluated by a medical professional as soon as possible. Some injuries, such as whiplash or internal bleeding, may not show symptoms immediately but can have serious long-term consequences if left untreated.

When you seek medical attention, tell the doctor or medical staff you were involved in a truck accident. They will need to document your injuries and treatment in your medical records, which can later be important evidence in your legal claim.

In addition to getting prompt medical treatment, following your doctor's orders and attending all follow-up appointments is crucial. This not only helps ensure that you fully recover, but it also shows that you are taking your injuries seriously and doing everything you can to improve.

Suppose you delay seeking medical treatment or do not follow your doctor's orders. The trucking company's insurance provider may try to argue that your injuries are not as serious as you claim or that you are not taking reasonable steps to mitigate your damages. This can hinder your ability to recover full compensation for your injuries and losses.

Report the Accident

After a truck accident, report the accident to the proper authorities as soon as possible. The police report can be important evidence in your legal claim later on. It can help establish the facts of the accident, including who was at fault and the extent of the damages and injuries involved.

In addition to reporting the accident to the police, you may also need to report the accident to your own insurance company. Most insurance policies require policyholders to report accidents promptly, even if they were not at fault. Failing to report an accident to your insurance company can jeopardize your coverage.

When reporting the accident to your insurance company, stick to the facts and avoid admitting fault or speculating about who was to blame. Let the insurance company conduct its investigation and reach its conclusions based on the evidence.

In many cases, you should allow your truck accident lawyer to handle all notifications and communications with your insurance company. This not only takes this step off your plate but minimizes the chance you might say something to complicate the claim process.

Gather Evidence

You can begin to gather other types of evidence to support your legal claim in addition to physical evidence from the scene of the accident.

This can include:

  • Medical records documenting your injuries and treatment
  • Receipts for any out-of-pocket expenses related to the accident, such as medical bills or vehicle repairs
  • Pay stubs or tax returns showing any lost income due to missed work because of your injuries

You can present this documentation to your lawyer in your initial consultation so they can accurately assess your claim and damages.

Your attorney can also work to build your case with more complicated evidence using the firm’s resources. This might include expert witness testimony from accident reconstruction specialists, medical professionals, or other professionals who can help support your claim. They might obtain video surveillance footage from nearby businesses, home security systems, or traffic light cameras.

An experienced truck accident attorney can identify and gather the evidence needed to build a strong case and maximize your chances of recovering full compensation for your damages.

Don't Admit Fault

After a truck accident, it's natural to want to apologize or express remorse, even if you don't believe you were at fault. Resist this urge and avoid admitting fault or apologizing for the accident, even if you think you may have been partially responsible.

Admitting fault or apologizing can be used against you later in your legal claim. The trucking company's insurance provider may try to argue that your admission of fault proves that you were fully or partially responsible for the accident, which can limit your ability to recover compensation for your damages.

Instead of admitting fault or speculating about who was to blame, stick to the facts when discussing the accident with the police, insurance companies, or other parties. Describe what happened in neutral terms without assigning blame or making assumptions about who was at fault.

Consult A Truck Accident Lawyer

Remember, even if you believe you may have been partially at fault for the accident, there may be other factors that you are unaware of. For example, the truck driver may have been tired, distracted, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident. The trucking company may have failed to properly maintain the vehicle or train the driver. An experienced truck accident attorney can help investigate the accident and identify all potential sources of liability.

Contact a Truck Accident Attorney

Aside from medical care, one of the most critical things you can do after a truck crash is to hire a truck accident attorney in your area right away. They can handle all insurance communications, guide you through the process, and seek the full compensation you need for your losses.

Seek Your Free Consultation with a Truck Accident Lawyer

Truck accidents can be devastating, causing serious injuries, property damage, and even fatalities. While not all accidents are avoidable, truck drivers and trucking companies must prioritize safety and adhere to regulations to keep everyone on the road safe.

If you've had a truck accident caused by driver fatigue, distracted driving, speeding, improper loading or maintenance, or inexperienced or poorly trained drivers, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and losses.

Don't hesitate to seek an experienced personal injury attorney who can fight for your rights, address the challenges of your case, and ensure you get the justice and compensation you deserve.