Truck Accidents and What Causes Them

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has recently begun a study on the causes of large truck accidents in order to reevaluate the system and increase safety. The FMCSA launched a study in 2001 that lasted for two years and reviewed 120,000 large truck accident cases. From 2003 to 2009, crashes began to decrease. However, between 2009 and 2018, there was a 52.6% increase in truck crashes. From just 2016 to 2018, there was a 5.7% increase.

According to the FMCSA, new factors that will be considered in the upcoming study will include “the dramatic increase in distraction caused by cellphones and texting, the level of driver restraint use, the advent of in-cab navigation and fleet management systems, as well as equipment designed to enhance safety, such as automatic emergency braking (AEB systems).” The study will aim to provide information that can help technology developers look at driver behaviors. Additionally, the previous study will serve as a guide for FMCSA’s new study.

Large trucks commonly seen on the road include big rigs, dump trucks, flatbeds, and tanker trucks. Trucking companies are required by federal law and regulations to continuously inspect and repair their vehicles.

“If companies are not training their employees properly, violating maximum driving time laws, failing to keep up with truck inspections or failing to screen new employees, they may be the ones held accountable for the truck accident,” explains Attorney Lauren Carroll of the Commonwealth Law Group.

Accidents are usually caused by a truck driver’s distracted driving, fatigue, impaired driving, speed, lack of experience, failure to obey traffic rules, or poor judgment. However, truck accidents can also be caused by other drivers, including those in much smaller vehicles. Other motorists tend to contribute to these accidents by driving in a truck’s blind spot, performing illegal maneuvers, texting, following the truck too closely, cutting the truck off, or driving under the influence.

There are various types of truck accidents, ranging from rollover to jackknife to rear-end to underride accidents.  Rollover accidents are the result of trucks drifting off the road due to high speeds, sharp turns, inclines or declines,  or running into something on the road. Jackknifes are caused by the truck’s brakes locking and leading to a skid, which often turns into a rollover. Underride accidents are often the most dangerous type and are caused by a rear-end collision when a smaller car hits the truck and goes underneath it. Rear-end collisions often happen due to the fact that it takes about 426 feet for a semi-truck to stop while going 60 miles per hour, often causing a collision because of the other driver’s inability to recognize the amount of space needed for the truck to stop.

If you have been affected by a truck accident, reach out to an attorney for professional help to receive appropriate compensation for your injuries. We understand the struggles that come with experiencing a serious accident and are here to help you through it. Contact us today to speak with one of our personal injury attorneys.