Causes of Truck Accidents

In any motor vehicle accident, sorting through the myriad of possible contributing factors to determine the exact cause of the crash can be a complicated and difficult process. But when it comes to truck accidents, the process becomes even more complex because of the number of added players that may be involved. Truck accidents may not just be caused by the driver’s negligence, but negligence on the part of several others as well including trucking companies, the manufacturers of trucks and their parts, the shipper or loader of the truck’s cargo and others.

Common Causes of Truck Accidents

Critical Events

A comprehensive study conducted by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration revealed three major types of events that lead to large truck accidents. Events are defined as an action or event that makes a crash unavoidable. They are:

  • Colliding with the rear end of another vehicle in the truck’s travel lane
  • Running off the road or into another travel lane
  • Truck loss of control due to travelling too fast for road conditions, shifting cargo, vehicle systems failure, poor road conditions, or other reasons

In most truck accident situations, the critical event is relatively easy to define. Finding what circumstances led up to the critical event is much more difficult, especially if the driver of the truck is unwilling or unable to provide an explanation. Truck accidents are often not the result of one critical event but rather a series of events that occurred in the hours, days or weeks leading up to the crash.

Driver Error

Comprehensive crash studies conducted by federal agencies reveal driver error to be the leading cause of truck accidents. Physical factors related to driver error include drug or alcohol use, illness, and fatigue. Driver inattention and distractions have also been identified as common causes of truck accidents. Some factors are more related to decisions made by the driver such as speeding, following too closely and aggressive driving. Studies have also shown that drivers under pressure from their employer or carrier are at greater risk of crashing because they may be more likely to violate speed restrictions and rules regarding cargo limits or number of hours worked.

Truck Equipment Failure

Modern semi-trucks are equipped with highly sophisticated parts and technology, all of which are crucial for the safe operation of the vehicle. A failure of one of these parts can have potentially deadly consequences. For this reason, trucking companies and their drivers are required to perform regular inspections and maintenance of their vehicles in order to keep them safe for travel. Unfortunately, these rules are often ignored and accidents happen. Brake and tire failure are the most common, but accidents can also result from problems with a truck’s headlights or taillights, coupling devices or steering mechanism.

Environmental Conditions

Environmental factors such as rain, fog, snow, ice and high winds create a higher risk of crashing for all drivers, but a truck’s massive size and weight increase the risk of injury and death exponentially. Federal guidelines instruct truck drivers to use extreme caution in adverse weather condition or suspend driving until conditions improve.

Improper Loading of Cargo

Federal regulations place limits on how much weight a truck can carry. A truck’s weight can have a significant effect on maneuverability and stopping distance. Trucks carrying too much weight are more prone to tire blowouts, which may cause the truck to rollover or jackknife.

Similarly, if a truck’s cargo is not loaded properly, its contents can shift, causing an imbalance that resultss in a truck rollover. Additionally, if cargo is not secured properly, pieces may fall off the truck onto the roadway, creating a serious hazard for anyone following the truck.

Improperly Trained Driver

The size and weight of commercial trucks make them a challenge to operate. Drivers must be properly trained and tested on how to handle a variety of road and vehicle conditions. If a driver encounters a sudden road hazard or equipment failure and he or she has not been properly trained, that inexperience could lead to a crash.

Baltimore Truck Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Successfully Represent Truck Accident Victims and Their Families

Baltimore truck accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton are committed to helping injured victims of truck accidents recover maximum compensation for their losses. To do this, we employ decades of experience handling truck accident cases along with an in-depth knowledge of federal and state trucking regulations. We know all of the ways trucking companies and their drivers try to hide their negligence to avoid liability. Our highly-skilled team of Maryland truck accident lawyers has the knowledge and the resources needed to fight back at trucking companies, determine who was at fault and hold them accountable to the fullest extent.

At LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton, we know that accidents can happen at any time of the day or night. That’s why we make sure someone is available to answer your questions 24 hours a day when you call us at 800-547-4LAW (4529). Call today or contact us online to arrange your free consultation with one of our qualified Maryland trucking accident lawyers. Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie and Towson, allowing us to represent truck accident victims throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Parkville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood and Elkridge.