Top Ten Causes of Truck Accidents

Truck accidents can stem from various different circumstances, many of which could impact commuter car drivers and their passengers in the exact same ways. However, since commercial trucks are so much larger and heavier than virtually every other vehicle around them, these potential roadway hazards pose a substantially bigger risk to everyone nearby when they end up contributing to a truck wreck. Here are ten particularly common reasons why truck accidents occur on American roads and highways.

Driver Fatigue

Truck drivers spend most of each workday on the move, traveling hundreds of miles in a single shift and multiple thousands of miles each month. Unfortunately, all that time on the road—and sometimes intentional violations of federal driving time regulations by their employers—can wreak havoc on a truck driver’s sleep schedule and wear them out during the day, making them almost as likely to inadvertently cause a crash as they would be if they were drunk.

Alcohol or Drug Impairment

Speaking of which, an unfortunate number of professional truck drivers attempt to keep themselves awake or stave away boredom by drinking on the job, abusing prescription drugs, and even using controlled stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamine. While recent efforts to criminalize this behavior have fortunately reduced the number of truckers who drive drunk or high, there are still those who engage in this immensely irresponsible behavior—and sometimes cause accidents as a result.

Distraction Behind the Wheel

Aside from drugs and alcohol, truck drivers can also be distracted by their phones radios, food and drink, or even the scenery around them. Sadly, even a momentary lapse in concentration while operating a massive semi-truck can have disastrous consequences for multiple people.

Reckless and Aggressive Driving

Even though they are trained professionals, truck drivers are not immune from road rage. A substantial number of truck accidents each year stem from a trucker driving overly aggressively, recklessly switching lanes or tailgating, or even deliberately trying to wreck someone who aggravated them in some way.

Lack of Experience or Training

Of course, “trained” is unfortunately not always the best word to describe a professional truck driver. Whether they are trying to save money or simply don’t prioritize safety like they should, trucking companies sometimes put drivers out on the road who are not qualified to operate vehicles of that size, greatly increasing the risk that they will wind up causing a crash.

Traffic Violations

Another form of intentional behavior that can lead to serious truck wrecks is flaunting highway and interstate traffic laws. Just like commuter car drivers, truck drivers who speed, run stop lights and stop lights, fail to obey yield signs, or fail to give the right of way have a much greater risk of being involved in an accident.

Failure to Check Blind Spots

One issue that is particularly unique to commercial trucks is the size and shape of their blind spots. There are multiple areas around even comparatively small tractor-trailers where the driver cannot see any other vehicles, pedestrians, or obstacles without mirrors, and truckers who negligently fail to check their blind spots before turning or switching lanes may end up striking another vehicle or even a person walking.

Overloading or Poorly Secured Cargo

It is worth noting that truck drivers are not always directly responsible for truck accidents. For example, third-party suppliers may not ensure cargo is strapped down or even overload a truck for financial purposes, potentially leading to shifting in transit that tears a truck out of its operator’s control.

Mechanical Failures

Likewise, truckers are often just as helpless in the face of engine and brake failures as anyone else on the road—often more so, in the latter case. Without room to coast to a stop, a trucker with no brakes or steering may have no way of avoiding the vehicles in front of and around them.

Road Conditions

Finally, roads impacted by inclement weather or undergoing construction can be unpredictable even for experienced drivers. Perhaps unsurprisingly, truck accidents are much more common in these types of situations.