Understanding the main factors that contribute to accidents involving large trucks is essential in developing policies and improving road safety to reduce risks. Due to the power and size of a large truck, an accident can have life-changing consequences.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 4,311 buses and large trucks were involved in crashes with fatalities in 2015 which represents an 8 percent increase over 2014. Sadly, 3,852 people died in these crashes, with 69 percent being occupants of passenger vehicles, 15 percent being pedestrians, motorcyclists, and bicyclists, while 16 percent were truck drivers.

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Factors Contributing to Large Truck Accidents

An FMCSA causation study analyzed approximately 120,000 truck accidents over an almost two-year period and identified the following as important factors leading to large truck accidents:

Driver Fatigue and Distraction

Driver fatigue caused by long hours of driving without a break can lead to the driver falling asleep at the wheel. It can also cause sluggish reflexes, which all can have devastating consequences.

Driver distraction has also been shown to be an important factor in trucking accidents. Checking cell phones, or even changing the radio station can take the driver’s focus away from driving and lead to accidents.

Inability to Act

Another major factor was found to be the driver’s physical inability to act. This could be caused by the driver suffering a heart attack, or any other issue that impairs his ability to act.

Poor Truck Maintenance

Trucks should be properly maintained to avoid potential problems. Faulty equipment leads to serious accidents. Tire blowouts and brake failure are just two examples of faulty equipment.

A truck accident attorney can hold companies liable if it’s found they didn’t document and conduct regular maintenance checks.

Cargo Shifting

If cargo hasn’t been properly secured, a shift in heavyweight can change the balance of the trailer and result in the trailer jackknifing or the whole truck rolling over, which could cause serious injuries to anyone on the road.

Loaders, truckers and trucking companies can be held liable when loads are not properly secured.

Unsafe Driving

Unsafe driving practices such as speeding, tailgating, frequent lane changes, failure to use turn signals, and others can have deadly consequences.

Trucks weigh almost 20 times more than a normal passenger vehicle, and large truck crashes often leave serious injuries, death, and destruction in their wake.