The main causes of truck accidents generally fall into one of two categories. One category contains all of the things that the driver is in control of, and the other category contains things beyond the driver’s control.
Driver negligence of any kind is typically under the driver’s control. This includes safe driving, following road rules and traffic signs, and not driving while distracted, drowsy, or intoxicated.
Some accident causes are the fault of the trucking company’s negligence. This may include a failure to perform basic maintenance on the truck or to properly secure a truck’s load.
Other accident causes, such as damaged roads, poor lighting, and the actions of other road users, are beyond the control of the truck driver.
Common Causes of Truck Accidents
Common causes of truck accidents include the following:
Violations of Traffic Law
Negligence and errors on the part of a truck driver are also some of the main causes of truck accidents. Violations of traffic law are negligent actions that may cause accidents, such as:
- An illegal turn or lane change
- Speeding or tailgating
- Failure to yield
- Running a red light to stop sign
- Not using lights at night
Intoxicate driving may also cause accidents. The use of illegal drugs, alcohol, or certain legal drugs or medication such as marijuana or prescription drugs can hamper a truck driver’s ability to operate their vehicle safely.
Drowsy driving can be a major safety issue for truck drivers. To prevent truckers from driving long hours and falling asleep behind the wheel, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) imposes hours of service limits on commercial vehicle operators. Exceeding these limits may qualify as negligence.
Distracted driving can also cause a truck accident. Distracted driving may include texting while driving, interacting with other passengers while driving, eating, or drinking while driving, or using devices for navigation or entertainment purposes while driving.
Inexperience and Professional Negligence
Driver inexperience or inattention can also cause an accident, as can poor hiring practices on the part of an employer, the encouragement of dangerous driving practices such as rushed deliveries, and a lack of training. Not having the right licensing, experience, or training to operate a truck can also cause an accident.
Inadequate Servicing and Maintenance
Truck drivers, the owners and operators of fleets of trucks, and truck service technicians must inspect their trucks and any equipment used for repairing or servicing a truck on a regular basis. A lack of maintenance, a failure to service vehicles, and errors made while servicing vehicles can all cause truck accidents.
If not properly maintained, everything from the truck’s fluid levels, the condition of its brakes and tires, and its indicator lights and mirrors can have a role in an accident. Equipment used to load and secure cargo should also be functioning correctly, and drivers should perform a pre-departure safety check before getting behind the wheel of a truck. Inspections for commercial motor vehicles are mandated by federal law, per the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations (eCFR) §396.11.
Road and Weather Issues
Poor visibility, rain, snow, and cold or icy conditions can wreak havoc with a truck driver’s ability to maintain control over his or her vehicle. Rain, sleet, and snow can reduce the truck’s traction with the road, and poor visibility can limit the time a driver has to react to dangers or changes in traffic patterns on the road ahead. Road damage, debris on the road, improperly marked traffic control devices, and other road hazards can also cause or contribute to an accident.
Recoverable Damages in a Truck Accident Case
If you were injured in a truck accident caused by another party’s negligence, you may be able to recover compensation for your damages in a personal injury insurance claim or lawsuit. Depending on your accident, your injuries, and other factors, the following damages may be recoverable:
- All costs of current and future accident-related medical care
- Property damage
- Lost income and reduced earning capability
- Pain and suffering
- Disfigurement and paralysis
If your loved one died in a truck accident, an alternate set of damages may be recoverable in a wrongful death lawsuit.
The Fitch Law Firm LLC May Be Able to Help You
The Fitch Law Firm LLC represents truck accident victims in Columbus and in other cities across Ohio. If you were hurt in this type of accident, we may be able to handle your insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit while you focus on recovering from your injuries. We also take wrongful death cases.
For a free consultation on your case with a member of our team, call the Fitch Law Firm LLC today at (614) 545-3930.