6 Most Common Causes of Truck Accidents

After a serious truck crash, one of the most important questions to answer is: what caused the accident? The causes will determine legal liability, which is directly related to who is financially responsible for the injuries. Our attorneys help clients sort through the factors to determine who can be held responsible for their losses.

Truck accidents in Pennsylvania

In Pennsylvania, like in other places around the country, heavy trucks make up a disproportionately high percentage of fatal crashes. In Pennsylvania in 2017:

  • There were over 6,800 total crashes involving trucks
  • Of accidents involving large trucks, 28% took place on interstate highways, 55% took place on other state highways, nearly 10% occurred on local roads, and 7% happened on the turnpike
  • Heavy trucks were involved in 155 fatal crashes, but only 27 of those deaths were to truck occupants
  • Trucks were involved in 13.4% of the state’s fatal crashes and 4.9% of the overall accidents that resulted in injuries

Causes of truck accidents

Large commercial trucks like tractor-trailers have features that make serious accidents more likely, such as heavy weight, longer stopping distances, and higher center of gravity; this means operators need to be extremely cautious in order to avoid accidents. However, federal statistics show that the majority of truck accidents are avoidable if drivers properly follow safety regulations.

The top causes of truck accidents are:

  1. Distractions – Some distractions are blatant, like checking social media while driving. Some seem harmless, like changing a radio station. But large trucks at full speed often end up in deadly crashes due to distractions while driving.
  2. Driver fatigue – Driving long hours without a sufficient break puts the driver and everyone else on the road at risk. State and federal regulations limit how long a driver may operate a commercial truck in a stretch.
  3. Substance abuse – Legal and illegal drugs are a problem for both truck drivers and drivers of passenger vehicles. When drivers of commercial trucks operate under impairment, they can cause extensive damage.
  4. Improper training – Before driving a commercial truck on the road, a driver needs to complete long hours of training. When this does not happen, the driver has insufficient experience to handle sudden emergencies on the road.
  5. Poor maintenance – State and federal regulations require both informal checks of the vehicle by the driver and formal professional maintenance. When this does not happen, the lack of maintenance can lead to dangerous problems in operation.
  6. Speeding – Truck drivers face pressure from their employers to reach their destinations by aggressive (and sometimes downright unrealistic) deadlines. Speeding not only reduces the reaction time of the driver but causes other drivers to make panicked evasive moves that lead to accidents.

Choosing a truck accident lawyer in Pittsburgh

Determining the cause of a truck accident is the first step to obtaining fair compensation. It is also important to hire an experienced truck accident lawyer in Pittsburgh who can present your case and fight for your rights. At Chaffin Luhana, we understand the complexities of truck accident cases and fight relentlessly to protect those who have been injured in a crash. Call us today to discuss your case. Consultations are always free and confidential.