What Are Common Causes of Truck Accidents?

Houston Truck Accident Lawyer Explains

18 wheeler semi on highwayTruck accidents can cause catastrophic injuries and damage. If you have been injured in a commercial truck accident, an important part of protecting your truck accident claim investigation is determining what caused the crash. In reality, many factors can result in a truck crash. Houston truck accident attorney Daniel D. Horowitz, III explains some of the most common causes of truck accidents.

Truck Driver Error

Truck drivers have many federal and state regulations to follow to prevent accidents. Even so, driver error causes many crashes. Driver error may stem from the following actions:

Driver Fatigue

Truck drivers travel long distances and work long hours. Drivers may sacrifice sleep to deliver their loads on time. This may be due to incentives and pressure to move cargo within a short amount of time. These long hours can cause driver fatigue. Fatigue causes slow reaction time and can even cause a driver to fall asleep while driving.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has established hours of service regulations. These regulations indicate the amount of time a driver can drive per day. They also dictate total hours a driver can work per week. Unfortunately, though, driver fatigue continues to be a top truck accident cause.

Now, COVID-19 has stressed the supply chain all over the United States. FMCSA has relaxed its hours of service regulations to move essential cargo quickly.

Speeding

Speeding is another way for truck drivers to reach their destinations quicker. Since traveling times can be unpredictable due to weather, road and traffic conditions, drivers may speed to try to make their delivery times.

Speeding reduces a driver’s reaction time if he or she needs to stop or slow down. It is especially dangerous in a big truck, because of a truck’s weight and size.

Impaired Driving

It is illegal to drink or use drugs while driving. In Texas, it is illegal for commercial vehicle drivers to have a blood alcohol concentration of 0.04% or above. A conviction can result in a disqualification period.

Even so, it is not uncommon for truck drivers to use stimulants like drugs and alcohol to stay awake when driving long hours. Alcohol can cause:

  • Poor judgment
  • Vision issues
  • Slow reaction time
  • Poor coordination
  • Drowsiness

Distracted Driving

Distracted driving can be anything that takes a driver’s attention away from the road. Examples of distracted driving include eating, checking social media, messing with the radio dial, and texting or talking on the phone.

Lack of Training and Experience

A driver must meet certain training requirements and other specific criteria before he or she can drive a commercial vehicle. Additionally, truck drivers must have special commercial drivers licenses (CDLs) to drive commercial vehicles. If qualifications or training is not met, then a driver should not be allowed to drive a big rig. However, it still happens.

Loading Errors

There are regulations about a truck’s loading capacity concerning weight and size. Commercial trucks must be loaded in a certain way. Depending on the cargo being hauled, there may be extra safety precautions to adhere. Improper loading, such as unsecured cargo can become unbalanced, shifting weight in the truck. When weight shifts, the truck driver can lose control of his or her vehicle causing a cargo-related truck crash.

Improper Truck Maintenance

Truck drivers and trucking companies are both responsible for maintaining the safety of their vehicles. This includes ensuring that all parts, accessories and systems are functioning properly.

Truck drivers may not thoroughly inspect their vehicles, since they are under pressure to meet delivery deadlines. Trucking companies may skimp on maintenance in order to cut costs. This may allow dangerous vehicles on the road.

Trucking Company Negligence

Federal safety regulations govern every trucking company in the United States. Trucking companies have a responsibility to ensure its trucks are safe, and its drivers are qualified and trained to operate its trucks safely.

However, many truck companies may cut corners on driver training and truck maintenance to try to turn a larger profit. Trucking companies may be responsible for a truck accident if they:

  • Fail to properly train drivers
  • Fail to vet new hires and current drivers
  • Fail to uphold federal hours of service regulations
  • Fail to maintain its vehicles

Defective Truck Parts

Though truck drivers and truck companies are responsible for the maintenance of their vehicles, in some cases, the truck manufacturer may be liable for an accident. Manufacturers have a responsibility to recall dangerous parts. If a design defect or a mechanical failure causes a truck crash, the manufacturer may be responsible.

Examples of defective parts may include:

  • Defective brakes
  • Defective tires
  • Issues with steering components
  • Suspension problems
  • Faulty cargo straps

Contact a Houston Truck Accident Lawyer After a Texas Truck Accident

After a Houston truck accident, you want an experienced truck accident lawyer on your side. As you can see, there are many causes of truck accidents. Many parties are responsible for maintaining the safety of a truck. More than one party may be responsible for your truck accident injuries and damages. An attorney can investigate the accident and determine its causes and responsible parties.

Daniel D. Horowitz, III has unique experience as a truck accident lawyer. He used to drive commercial trucks, and he even represented trucking companies early in his career. This gives him insight into the industry that most attorneys do not have. Schedule a free consultation to discuss your situation and potential legal options. Call (832) 734-9967 or fill out an online contact form.