Most Common Causes of Commercial Truck Accidents

Posted On April 18, 2024 / By Manning Law / Truck Accidents

Commercial truck accidents are a serious threat to driver safety. In 2021 alone, 5,700 large trucks were involved in fatal traffic accidents in the U.S., according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Identifying the most common causes of commercial truck accidents can help drivers spot dangerous circumstances and potentially avoid becoming victims themselves.

Unsafe Truck Movement

Operating a big rig is a different experience than driving a standard passenger car. Large trucks are substantially larger and heavier. They maneuver less agilely and have to take wide turns. They are also more difficult to slow down and stop, with unique hydraulic brakes that truck drivers must understand how to correctly use. 

Tractor-trailers also have large blind spots on all four sides of the vehicle. A truck driver must take into account everything that makes large trucks unique and apply special driving maneuvers to operate the rig safely. If a truck driver falls short of this responsibility, he or she could maneuver the truck in an unsafe way that results in a disastrous truck accident.

Common examples of truck driver mistakes include making unsafe lane changes, merging on top of smaller vehicles, running out of the travel lane, following too closely and failing to check blind spots. When a truck driver is at fault, working with a Denver truck accident attorney can hold the trucking company vicariously liable (financially responsible) for the crash.

Driver Fatigue 

Another common driver-related cause of commercial truck accidents is fatigue. Truck drivers are statistically more likely to drive while drowsy or tired than passenger vehicle drivers due to the nature and pressures of their jobs. Truck driver fatigue can arise from long and solitary hours on the road, overnight shifts, uncomfortable sleeping conditions, and pressure to meet tight deadlines. In addition, sleep apnea, which can disrupt sleep, is common among truck drivers.

Dangerous Driving Behaviors

Truck drivers have a responsibility to operate their big rigs safely, prudently, and in accordance with state and federal trucking laws. Unfortunately, not all truck drivers take these responsibilities seriously. Careless and reckless truck driving behaviors such as speeding, distracted driving, aggressive driving and drunk driving can result in truck accidents.

Truck or Equipment Failures

In some truck accident cases, investigators discover safety issues related to the truck or its equipment rather than the fault of a truck driver. A trucking company has a responsibility to inspect, repair, maintain and ensure the safety of its fleet. The failure to do so increases the odds of a truck accident.

Examples of truck part failures include:

  • Brake problems
  • Tire blowouts
  • Steering system failures
  • Electrical system failures
  • Transmission failures
  • Missing rear-impact guards
  • Trailer hookup malfunctions
  • Shifting cargo
  • Lost cargo loads

If the truck part that malfunctioned and caused the crash contained a manufacturing, marketing or design defect, the part manufacturer could be held responsible rather than the trucking company.

Injured in a Commercial Truck Accident? Get Help From Our Attorneys 

Identifying the cause of a truck accident is one of the first steps toward recovering financial compensation for crash-related injuries and losses. Colorado is a fault state, which means determining the at-fault party is necessary before a claim can be filed. To get professional legal assistance investigating and identifying the cause of your truck accident, contact a Denver personal injury attorney at Manning Law for a free consultation with our experienced truck accident attorneys.