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Common Causes of Commercial Truck Accidents

While semi-trucks are integral to the nation’s economy and fulfill the important role of moving goods from place to place, they can pose a significant hazard on the roadways. With an average weight of more than 30,000 pounds, commercial trucks are more dangerous than cars due to their size, inability to stop as quickly, and limited visibility for the driver. Therefore, when trucks are involved in accidents—particularly with passenger cars or other vehicles—they often result in severe injury or death. Here are four of the most common causes of commercial truck accidents:

  • Fatigue. Despite regulations on the trucking industry, commercial truck drivers are under a great deal of pressure to drive long distances each day, with little time to rest. As a result, drivers are often fatigued while on the road, which may cause them to lose concentration, react more slowly to driving conditions, or even fall asleep at the wheel—all of which can lead to serious accidents. In fact, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board has estimated that driver fatigue was a probable factor in 20-40% of truck crashes.
  • Distracted driving. Like any other drivers, commercial truck drivers are susceptible to many distractions—including looking at their phones, adjusting the GPS, eating, or changing radio stations—that can interfere with safe driving. Particularly in a “big rig,” a driver taking their eyes off the road for just a few seconds can result in disaster.
  • Inadequate training and maintenance. Trucking companies are responsible for ensuring that their drivers receive proper training on how to safely operate their trucks in the multitude of different conditions they may encounter. Companies must also have procedures in place for keeping vehicle maintenance up to date and inspecting each truck before it departs on a trip. If either driver training or vehicle maintenance are inadequate, the trucking company may be held liable for accidents that occur as a result.
  • Driving under the influence. While it may seem that professional truck drivers would be less likely to drive when under the influence of drugs or alcohol, an alarmingly high percentage have admitted to doing so. An analysis of 36 studies of truck drivers in the U.S. and other countries found that up to 30% admitted to using amphetamines on the job, 20% used marijuana, and a shocking 50% admitted to drinking and driving. Combined with the other factors that make trucking hazardous, an impaired driver can wreak disastrous consequences. 

When commercial trucks cause accidents that result in another driver’s injuries or death, several different parties could potentially be held liable, including the truck driver, the company that owns or operates the truck, the manufacturer of the truck, or the mechanic responsible for maintenance. As an accident victim, the key to identifying the proper parties and maximizing the damages to which you may be entitled is to work with an experienced personal injury attorney. 

At Leighton Law, one of our areas of expertise is representing victims of accidents involving commercial trucks. Our attorneys have a long history of securing large verdicts and settlements on behalf of our clients, including a record-setting $8 million award for the parents of a girl who was tragically killed when a commercial truck hit the vehicle in which she was a passenger and a $7.4 million verdict for a man whose car was hit by a semi. To learn more, visit https://leightonlaw.com/motor-vehicle-and-trucking-accidents/ or call us at 888.988.1774 to schedule a consultation.

Article by:

John Leighton

A nationally-recognized trial lawyer who handles catastrophic injury and death cases. He manages Leighton Law, P.A. trial lawyers, with offices in Miami and Orlando, Florida. He is President of The National Crime Victim Bar Association, author of the 2-volume textbook,Litigating Premises Security Cases, and past Chairman of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America’s Motor Vehicle, Highway & Premises Liability Section. Having won some of the largest verdicts in Florida history, Mr. Leighton is listed inThe Best Lawyers in America (14 years), “Top Lawyers” in the South Florida Legal Guide (15 years), Top 100 Florida SuperLawyer™ and Florida SuperLawyers (14 years), “Orlando Legal Elite” by Orlando Style magazine, and FloridaTrend magazine “Florida Legal Elite

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