Common Causes of 18-Wheeler Collisions
There are many possible causes of truck accidents, but some of the most
In some cases, the truck driver is not the only one at fault. Often, an
improper load weight distribution can cause the truck to handle poorly.
The truck may have been improperly maintained, causing the brakes or steering
to fail. Management's expectation of driver delivery times may also exceed
the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act regulations.
Driver Negligence or Mistakes
Truck drivers have a hefty responsibility when they get behind the wheel.
Because their vehicles are so heavy, usually around 80,000 pounds, they
can be extremely damaging when involved in an accident. If a driver ignores
traffic laws or allows distractions to interrupt them, they could crash,
harming themselves and anyone else on the road. Drivers can be held responsible
for their mistakes, or the trucking companies they work for may be held
responsible for bad hiring practices, etc.
Dangerous Roads & Highways
If a road is poorly maintained or inherently dangerous in design, it could
create dangerous driving conditions for anyone on the road. Roads that
are littered with debris, unmarked, cracked, or riddled with potholes
could be extremely dangerous and might contribute to the cause of a serious
accident. For example, any of these road hazards could cause a driver
to lose control, causing them to veer into another vehicle. Or, road hazards
could cause flat tires, rollover incidents, or could run vehicles off
of the road. In any of these situations, the business or city responsible
for maintaining that road could be liable, or the entity that caused the
hazard might be responsible. For example, a construction company might
leave debris on the road, creating a major hazard.
Truck Driver Fatigue
Drowsy driving is a serious problem among truck drivers, which is why so
many trucking regulations exist to help prevent driver fatigue. Truck
engines are equipped with timers to monitor driving hours, further encouraging
drivers to stick to the strict driving limitations that aim to prevent
working for extended periods of time. Through the enforcement of these devices, drivers are required to take
frequent breaks. However, because so many drivers face demanding schedules
and strict deadlines, these rules are often ignored. As a result, drivers
might fall asleep at the wheel, leading to major accidents.
Truck & Rig Defects
Vehicle manufacturers are responsible for creating and selling safe, effective
equipment. If any vehicle or part fails, it could cause a serious accident.
Common truck and rig defects include:
- Brake failure
- Tire failure
- Problematic steering equipment
- Defective lights
- Faulty mirrors
- Damaged fuel systems
A problem with any of these parts could cause the truck driver to lose
control of the vehicle, which might result in a multiple-vehicle pile-up
crash, or any other number of serious incidents.
Failure to Maintain the Trucks
It is the responsibility of the truck driver or trucking company to ensure
the vehicle is properly maintained. Failure to take a truck in for regular
service and necessary repairs could be extremely risky and may cause the
truck to fail when in use. Additionally, failure to repair and check the
truck trailer could lead to cargo issues, which might lead to major spills
and dangerous cargo loss.
Drug or Alcohol Abuse
Driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is dangerous under
any circumstances, but it can be especially risky for a truck driver.
Truck drivers are responsible for particularly heavy and large vehicles,
and if they lose control of their truck, they could harm anyone in the
nearby vicinity. Drugs and alcohol are illegal for a reason—they
distort judgment and impair the senses, which makes for an extremely dangerous
driver. Unfortunately, it isn’t unheard of for truck drivers to
turn to one or both of these vices in order to stay awake during long
hours on the road, but their poor decisions could cost other drivers and
passengers their lives.
Trucking companies are required to follow a long list of trucking regulation
laws, each of which is designed to keep truck drivers and the general
public safe from harm. Employers must not require their truck drivers
to work unsafe, overextended hours that could ultimately lead to driver
fatigue, and they must not prohibit drivers from taking the necessary
breaks. Trucking companies must also practice safe and legal hiring practices,
which means they should only hire drivers who have proper licensing to
operate their vehicles safely. If a driver does not have a valid license,
or if he or she has driving violations, the trucking company could potentially
be liable if that driver causes an accident.
Companies could also be responsible for inadequate training, failure to
train drivers, inadequate vehicle inspection, failure to maintain their
vehicles, failure to practice safe vehicle loading, and more. If employers
are negligent and do not follow these regulations, they could be held
liable for any harm that occurs as a result.
Improper Cargo Loading
Keeping a truck safe is about more than just maintaining the engine, it
is equally important to ensure a truck trailer is properly loaded and
all cargo is safely secured. When a truck is loaded
improperly or overloaded, it can create an uneven weight distribution, which can lead to jackknifing
incidents, rollover accidents, and any number of serious crashes. Alternately,
if cargo is inadequately secured it could fall from the trailer, striking
nearby vehicles or creating dangerous roadblocks and hazards. Ultimately,
it is the trucking company’s responsibility to secure the cargo,
but a cargo loading company might also be liable for acting negligently.
Or, a driver may fail to check their truck’s load, which can be
We handle all truck accident cases on a
contingency fee basis, which means if you do not recover money damages in a settlement or jury
award, you will not pay attorney's fees.
Work with a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney
When you contact Fibich, Leebron, Copeland & Briggs for a free consultation
to discuss your accident injury, we will fully explain how personal injury
law and federal regulations affect your case, and how we can help you
hold a negligent company liable, anywhere in the country. We are proud of our
record of success in obtaining full and
fair settlements from some of the largest freight carrier trucking companies in the nation.
Don't fall prey to the offers of negligent trucking companies.
Contact our offices to discuss your case with a Houston truck accident lawyer.