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9 Most Common Causes for Semi-Truck Accidents

Klein Frank, P.C.

Semi-truck accidents are some of the most dangerous crashes you can encounter on the roadways – and they are far more likely to be fatal for passenger car drivers. At least 4,000 people each year are killed in large trucking accidents, with the International Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reporting that over 68% of those deaths are occupants of cars and passenger vehicles.

Here in Colorado, where there are plenty of rural roads crisscrossing our state, more than 80 people died in truck crashes in 2017 alone, with hundreds more injured. At Klein Frank, P.C., we help the victims of semi-truck accidents to pursue fair compensation for their financial losses and injuries. If you’ve been seriously hurt in a truck crash, it’s important to identify the cause of your accident, as this will be a significant factor in your personal injury lawsuit.

According to the Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS) performed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in 2007, there are three critical events that tend to happen with large trucks: Running out of the travel lane, colliding with the rear end of a vehicle in the travel lane, or losing control of the vehicle. While these scenarios may have different causes, any of these events can lead to a catastrophic or fatal injury for the passenger car drivers on the road.

Here are 9 of the most common causes of these critical events:

  1. Issues with braking. Semi-trucks are massive machines, so it’s important for the truck company to keep all brakes in good working condition. Unfortunately, braking maintenance issues are by far the most common cause of catastrophic truck accidents, making up almost 30% of all cases.
  2. Speeding. In the LTCCS, speeding ranked as the second most common factor assigned in critical events with large semi-trucks. In over 24% of cases, the driver was going too fast for roadway conditions and was consequently unable to maintain the vehicle.
  3. Prescription and OTC drug abuse. To endure long hours on the road and frustrations on the job, many truck drivers turn to prescription and over-the-counter substances. Driving under the influence of these drugs can still severely delay the driver’s reactions, making them more likely to crash.
  4. Distracted driving. Just as with passenger car drivers, truck drivers have an obligation to stay alert and avoid distractions. With the rise of smartphones, however, more and more truck drivers have begun to text or call on the road. These distractions can ultimately lead to an accident.
  5. Failure to maintain the truck. Regular maintenance is a must for semi-trucks, to ensure that the thousands of moving parts are in tip-top shape for the road. However, some trucking companies push their drivers to meet unrealistic deadlines – increasing the odds that they’ll skip on important maintenance and repair stops.
  6. Lack of driver training. Across the country, there’s currently a shortage of qualified, experienced truck drivers. If the company does not provide appropriate training for new drivers in the rush to start earning a profit, the results can be catastrophic.
  7. Driver fatigue. Federal hours-of-service regulations require truck drivers to take a full 10-hour break after spending 11 consecutive hours on the road. When truck companies do not enforce this rule and put undue pressure on their drivers, truck operators may become dangerously fatigued and put other’s lives at risk.
  8. Pressure from truck carrier companies. When you combine the truck driver shortage with the current demand for fast shipping, it’s easy to see why the drivers are feeling pressure from trucking carrier companies. In fact, the LTCCS found that 10% of drivers who crashed “felt under work pressure from [the] carrier.”
  9. Traffic congestion. Driving in heavily congested traffic can be a frustrating experience, but truck drivers have an obligation to gauge the situation and respond appropriately. When they follow too closely to other cars, truck drivers may not be able to avoid a collision by braking.

Steady Representation for Your Truck Accident Claim

At Klein Frank, P.C., we’ve recovered billions for our clients by holding the right parties accountable for their injuries. Skilled at handling a wide range of car and truck accident claims, our Boulder personal injury team will provide you with a thorough investigation into the circumstances, as well as a customized legal strategy. We believe in standing up for our clients when they’ve suffered losses as a result of negligence, whether it’s a speeding truck driver or a defective truck brake. If you need help filing a truck accident claim, just give us a call today.

Contact our team at (303) 622-3876 to schedule your free initial consultation.

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