Car Accidents Caused by Driver Error

Truck Driver Error

In the trucking industry, time is money. Truck drivers are under a tremendous amount of pressure to get their load to its destination in the very least amount of time possible. This often leads to drivers becoming overly fatigued, taking drugs, speeding, cutting corners while loading, or making poor decisions behind the wheel. The great majority of all accidents involving trucks are caused by driver error.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) conducted a study of truck accident causes to learn what factors are most frequently responsible for truck driver errors. The study found that:

  • 44 percent of the accidents involved truck drivers who were taking either prescription or over-the-counter medications.
  • 23 percent of the accidents involved drivers who were speeding or driving too fast for weather and road conditions.
  • 18 percent of the accidents studied resulted from driver fatigue.

Truck Driver Drug Use

Trucking companies are required to drug-test their drivers as a condition of employment, to obtain drug testing records from previous employers, to perform random drug tests of on-duty drivers, and to test a driver immediately after any accident causing a fatality.

A driver is prohibited from using any controlled substance except when it has been prescribed by a doctor who has determined that it will not interfere with the driver’s ability to operate a truck safely.

Failing to Check for Vehicles in Blind Spots

Large trucks have significant blind spots where they cannot see another vehicle. Before changing lanes, passing, backing, or turning, the driver must ascertain that there is no other vehicle in one of these blind spots. If there is, the likelihood of an accident increases by 60 percent, studies show.


Truck rollovers are often a cause of fatal accidents. They can be caused by improper loading of the truck’s cargo, speeding (especially on a curve), over-correcting when wheels drift from the pavement due to driver inattention, or driver inexperience in handling a very large truck.


Jackknifing of tractor-trailer trucks is another common accident type that is frequently caused by driver error or deliberate wrongdoing. In order to save money, drivers sometimes depower the truck’s front brakes which saves wear on the brakes and tires. This means they must downshift and rely upon the trailer’s brakes to slow the truck, substantially increasing the likelihood of the truck jackknifing.
Other common causes of a jackknife accident are the driver’s failure to attach the trailer properly, not allowing sufficient braking time, braking on a curve, and poor maintenance of braking and suspension systems.

Tire Blowouts

A truck driver is responsible for inspecting the vehicle to determine that it is safe to take it on the road, and this includes a careful inspection of the tires. Semi trucks may weigh as much as 80,000 pounds, which means a lot of wear and tear on tires. If a tire blows out, especially at a high speed, the driver will often lose control of the truck and cause an accident. A driver’s failure to inspect the tires is evidence of liability for the accident.

Truck Accident Legal Representation

When you’ve been injured or a family member has been killed in an accident involving truck driver error, you will need to have the representation of a Pittsburgh, PA truck accident lawyer experience working for you right from the start. Your attorney needs to be familiar with state and federal trucking regulations and must be quick to act before essential evidence from trucker logs and the black box data recorder disappear or are destroyed. Trucks are required to carry large insurance policies, but trucking companies are quick to protect their interests when an accident occurs.

Protect yourself by contacting Chaffin Luhana, LLP, immediately. We have the experience and resources to level the playing field when dealing with trucking companies and their insurers to get you the damage recovery you deserve. Call today for your free consultation.