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Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents

Truck accidents are all too common on Texas’s busy roadways. Because of the size and weight of commercial vehicles, when a collision occurs between them and a passenger vehicle, occupants of the smaller vessel are likely to suffer catastrophic injuries or even death.

According to the most recent report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), more that 4,000 Americans died in accidents involving large trucks in 2020. Most of those who died were occupants of a passenger vehicle, while 16 percent were pedestrians or riders of motorcycles or bicycles. Truck drivers accounted for 15 percent of deaths.

Many truck accidents are caused by the same factors, which can be broken down into three broad categories: (1) causes related to one of the drivers; (2) causes related to the truck; and (3) circumstantial causes.

Driver-related causes

  • Fatigue — Truck drivers are under a great deal of pressure to deliver their cargo by the deadline set by their company. The government has tried to curb fatigued driving in truck drivers by limiting the number of hours of trucker can be on the road on any day or in any week. Unfortunately, these laws are often broken, with tragic consequences.
  • Intoxication — Truck accidents can be caused by either driver being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Truck drivers in particular can be tempted to use illegal drugs to try to stay focused if they are behind schedule on a delivery.
  • Distracted driving — Today, more and more drivers are distracted by cell phones. Whether they are talking on a cell phone or using an app, a driver being distracted increases the chances of an accident.
  • Reckless driving — Trucks require more time and distance to stop than lighter passenger vehicles. Speeding compounds the issue by further increasing both the time and distance needed for a truck to come to a stop. Furthermore, higher speed increases the chances that a change in direction will cause the driver to lose control of the truck.

Truck-related causes

  • Lack of vehicle maintenance — Both federal and Texas law require regular inspections and maintenance of trucks. It is not uncommon, however, for an accident to be caused by vehicle malfunction due to improper maintenance of a truck.
  • Failure to properly secure cargo — Truck drivers are required to know how to property distribute the weight of their cargo and secure it. Failure to do so can result in rollover and jack-knife accidents. Cargo can also spill off of or out of the truck, creating hazards on the road and endangering nearby motorists.

Circumstantial causes

  • Poor road conditions — Sometimes the state may be responsible, at least in part, for truck accidents if they fail to maintain them.
  • Weather — Because of their tight schedules, truck drivers will often drive through bad weather rather than pull over. Rain, snow, wind, fog and other adverse weather conditions all increase the likelihood of an accident.

If you or a loved one were injured in a truck accident, an experienced Texas personal injury attorney can help you get justice from all responsible parties, regardless of the particular causes of the accident.

At Leland Reinhard Law Firm I have extensive experience representing accident victims and their families. Call me at 817-645-5400 or contact me online to schedule a free consultation.