When Do Most Truck Accidents Occur?

Commercial trucks can cause extensive damage to other vehicles. They also cause catastrophic personal injury and deaths more readily than private passenger vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says truck accidents cause thousands of deaths and tens of thousands of injuries in multi-vehicle accidents.

Daylight hours are the deadliest for truck accidents. About two-thirds of all truck accidents happen between 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Those are the hours during which most truckers operate. The daylight hours provide drivers with the best visibility. They also have the fewest drunk drivers on the road.

More specifically, NHTSA says more commercial trucks operate between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. than any other time of the day. Those six hours account for more accidents with large trucks than the rest of the day and night combined. Noon to 3:00 p.m. is when truck accidents peak the most, whereas midnight to 3:00 a.m. is when they occur the least.

Most businesses and other establishments are open between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. Those that receive goods and supplies often do so between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. That is why those hours account for the most accidents with big trucks and other commercial vehicles.

Most Truck Accidents Happen on Weekdays

Most commercial trucks are engaged in commerce by moving goods from one location to another. As you might expect, that usually happens on weekdays.

There are some deliveries made on Saturdays, but the number is much lower than on weekdays. Sundays have very few deliveries done.

With more commercial trucks on the roads during the weekdays, those days are when the most accidents occur. NHTSA says 83 percent of fatal trucking accidents happen on weekdays, with most days accounting for about 17 percent of the accidents.

One weekday stands out as accounting for more commercial truck accidents than any other. NHTSA says that day is Thursday. A slight uptick in deadly truck accidents happens on Thursdays, which account for about 18 percent of trucking fatalities.

Thursdays are when orders placed earlier in the week often get delivered. Thursday also is when goods needed for the weekend typically arrive at their destinations. Many motorists also are hurrying to wrap up the week and get ready for the weekend, especially if a holiday weekend is in store.

Road Type Makes a Difference

You might think that driving in the city is the most dangerous place for truckers. It is not. Rural roads account for the majority of fatal truck accidents.

Nearly two-thirds of trucking fatalities happen on rural roads versus about a third in urban areas. That is because big rigs generally must cover a good distance to get goods to market.

Many warehouses are located in more rural areas because that is where the land is most available. Once the goods are loaded, the truckers need to drive potentially hundreds of miles to get them to market. Doing so often requires travel through rural areas.

Common Causes of Truck Accidents

Large trucks generally accrue many more miles on a weekly basis than private passenger vehicles. If a big rig is not on the road, it is losing money. Therefore, the pressure is on to keep tractor-trailers and other commercial trucks running as often as possible.

The pressure to keep trucks on the road leads to common causes of accidents. The causes come from the trucks and their drivers, but not always.

Three factors generally account for the majority of truck accidents. Those three factors are:

  • Driver error
  • Mechanical failure
  • Unsafe road conditions

When truck drivers make errors, fatigue is the primary cause. Others also might be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Fortunately, most truckers are much safer motorists than those who are driving private passenger vehicles.

Poorly maintained trucks and trailers could cause an accident. The brakes might give out, or maybe a tire might separate and throw its tread. A variety of mechanical issues could lead to an accident.

Road conditions also commonly contribute to truck accidents. Truckers have to drive in all kinds of weather. They pull off the road only when the weather becomes too treacherous for driving and are told to shelter in place.

Common Committed Driving Errors

Tractor-trailers and other large commercial trucks have large blind spots that make it difficult to see other vehicles. Most trucks only have side mirrors to help eliminate blind spots. Some also might be equipped with blind-spot monitoring devices that warn truckers when another vehicle is in the blind spot.

Most accidents involving commercial trucks occur when changing lanes and cutting off another vehicle that was in the blind spot. The advances in technology are helping to reduce those accidents, but they will continue because of driver error.

Other driver errors also contribute to trucking accidents, and the truckers often are not the ones who make the driving errors. Many times, the driving error is committed by someone driving a private passenger vehicle.

Many drivers tend to cut off large trucks by pulling in front of them and overestimating the truck’s braking power. Commercial trucks require far more stopping distance than a passenger vehicle.

A fully loaded commercial truck can weigh up to 80,000 pounds. The average sedan weighs about 4,000 pounds. The commercial truck also is taller and has a much higher center of gravity.

When commercial trucks are involved in a car accident, the people in the cars typically suffer more. The physics of the collision makes it a near certainty that the automobile takes the worst of the damage and its passengers suffer more extensive injuries.

Potential Liability for Truck Accidents

When a commercial truck causes an accident, several levels of liability might apply. The driver usually bears the primary responsibility for an accident when committing a driving error. Making an error while driving is not the only way for a trucker to be liable for an accident.

The driver also might have failed to inspect the vehicle and load prior to putting it on the road. Truckers are responsible for inspecting their vehicles and loads before they drive them on public roads.

An unstable load or defective tractor-trailer might trigger an accident. If so, the driver would be at least partly responsible for causing the accident. Other liability might extend to the owners or leaseholders of commercial trucks.

Truckers often drive for trucking companies that provide them with vehicles and loads to haul. When the employer owns or leases the truck, the employer usually is responsible for maintaining it. When a truck is in disrepair and causes an accident, the owner or lessee is among potentially liable parties.

A third-party provider of truck maintenance and repair services also might be liable for causing an accident because of a mechanical defect. Improperly performed maintenance or repairs might result in an accident while the truck is in use. If faulty equipment is tied to the maintenance or repair service, that could make the service provider liable for accident costs.

How to Prevent Accidents with Commercial Trucks

The best way to prevent an accident with a commercial truck is to give it lots of room. You should not slowly drive past one or linger in its blind spot, and you should ensure it has plenty of stopping room if you pull in front of it and have to stop up ahead.

When you want to overtake a semi, you should accelerate and pass the truck quickly. If you do a slow pass alongside it, you will be in its blind spot longer and run the risk of the truck turning into your vehicle.

A strong gust of wind might cause the trailer to swing into your vehicle. A thumping tire might shed its tread and cause the trucker to lose control. A road hazard might force the trucker to swerve into your lane. The less time you spend next to a semi, the lower the odds of getting into an accident with it.


Baltimore Truck Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Help Clients Recover from Their Injuries

A truck accident can be devastating, causing severe injury and property damage. If you or a loved one was in an accident involving a truck, do not hesitate to contact the Baltimore truck accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. Our legal team will investigate the cause of the accident, hold responsible parties accountable, and ensure that you receive full and fair compensation for your injuries. Call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

We have offices in Baltimore, Glen Burnie, and Prince George’s County, allowing us to represent clients in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel CountyCarroll CountyHarford CountyHoward CountyMontgomery CountyPrince George’s CountyQueen Anne’s CountyMaryland’s Western CountiesSouthern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of CatonsvilleEssexHalethorpeMiddle RiverRosedale, Gwynn OakBrooklandvilleDundalkPikesvilleParkvilleNottinghamWindsor MillLuthervilleTimoniumSparrows PointRidgewood, and Elkridge.