Common Causes of Truck Accidents

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Truck accidents are incredibly common across the United States, and they pose a significant threat to the safety of all individuals on the road. According to crash data compiled by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 5,936 people died in large truck crashes in 2022 alone, and the number of trucks involved in injury crashes has increased by 18% since 2016.

Furthermore, the importance of truck safety is more important than ever, and understanding the common causes of accidents is crucial in reducing the incidence of accidents across the United States.

Truck Driver Fatigue

One of the most common causes of trucking accidents is driver fatigue. According to a large truck crash causation study conducted by the NHTSA, 13% of drivers reported that they were fatigued at the time of the crash. Fatigue is unfortunately very prominent among truck drivers for a number of reasons including long hours of driving, late-night driving shifts, and tight delivery schedules.

Although the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has imposed hours-of-service regulations to help prevent driver fatigue, not all truck drivers abide by them. Fatigued drivers are likely to experience slowed reaction times, impaired judgment, and even run the risk of falling asleep behind the wheel, all of which have the potential to cause a catastrophic accident.

Overloading or Improperly Loaded Cargo

Another commonly seen reason that truck accidents occur is if the cargo that the trucks are transporting is overloaded or improperly loaded. Cargo loaders must be precise when loading up trucks and abide by the state’s loading laws and weight regulations.

Failure to do so may not only be punishable by law but also poses a great danger of a truck accident occurring due to weight imbalance, steering difficulties, and brake failure.

Distracted Driving

Engaging in distracted driving is another common cause of truck accidents. Distracted driving encompasses anything that may divert your attention from the road while driving, and distractions may be visual, auditory, manual, or cognitive.

The effects of distracted driving can be extremely dangerous, and even just a quick look away from the road can be fatal. Distracted driving is particularly threatening for trucks, as their weight and size are likely to cause more significant damage.

Intoxicated Driving

Lastly, driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a main contributor to truck accidents. Driving while under the influence is not only extremely unsafe, but it is also illegal.

Truck drivers who are intoxicated while driving are likely to have decreased reaction times, a lack of coordination and awareness, and impaired vision. Regardless of what kind of vehicle you are driving, it is never a good idea to drive while under the influence.

What To Do After a Truck Accident 

In the event that you are injured in a truck accident, it is important that you take the appropriate steps. First and foremost, you will want to seek medical attention immediately if you have been injured in the crash. Even if you are not injured, be sure to call 911 to notify the police of the incident.

This is an important step as having police reports will be vital in filing a truck accident claim. After, you will want to change personal contact information with the parties involved, as well as anyone who may have witnessed the accident occur.

Finally, you should contact a Seattle truck accident attorney to learn about your legal options. An attorney is particularly important in truck accident cases, as there are a number of different parties who may be held liable for the accident, including the truck driver, truck company, truck manufacturer, and more.

Additionally, having an attorney on your side can help ensure that you receive maximum compensation, that your rights are protected, and that you are not taken advantage of by your insurance company.

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