Common Causes Of Heavy Truck Accidents

Heavy Trucks including semi trucks and trailers are large and heavy. They can weight as much as 80,000 lbs or more when fully loaded. These vehicles are capable of causing serious injuries or deaths to the truck drivers and other motorists when they are involved in accidents.

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The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) conducted the Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS) to examine the reasons for serious crashes involving large trucks (trucks with a gross vehicle weight rating over 10,000 pounds). This study was conducted during the years 2001-2003. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration there are three major types of critical events assigned to large trucks which can result in accidents. They are as follows:

1. 32 percent of the accidents involving large trucks in study were the result of the truck running out of the travel lane either veering into another lane or going off the road.

2. 29 percent of the accidents involving large trucks in the study were the result of the truck traveling too fast for conditions, cargo shift, vehicle systems failures, poor road conditions or other reasons.

3. 22 percent of the accidents involving large trucks in the study were the result of rear end collisions where the truck hit another vehicle in the truck’s travel lane.

These results are based on results obtained in a study conducted by the large truck causation study based on trucks with a gross weight of 10,000 lbs or more during the years 2001-2003. However, since that time the number of heavy truck accidents have greatly increased.

Truck driver training classes emphasize road safety.  There are common factors for these accidents.  Accidents can often be due to the truck driver fatigue, stress and sleepiness and distractions. Driver fatigue is common in the trucking industry due to the fact that drivers have many demands on them including delivery deadlines which can stress them to their limits. Oftentimes, drivers know they are too sleepy to drive but they continue to press themselves. Drousy drivers are dangerous drivers regardless of whether they are truck drivers or passenger vehicle drivers.

They can also be caused by a passenger vehicle unexpectedly pulling in front of the truck leaving the truck driver with insufficient distance to stop the truck. Many drivers of passenger vehicles don’t understand that semi trucks cannot stop on a dime. Drivers of passenger vehicles are responsible for numerous accidents. One of the most common causes of accidents involving passenger vehicles is due to drivers driving in “No-Zone” areas. This is the area behind and beside the truck where the truck driver has limited or zero visibility. Those in passenger vehicles should realize that truck drivers cannot see them if they are in a “No-Zone” area.

New drivers should be taught how to drive near heavy trucks. Teenagers in particular should be trained to know how to drive around heavy trucks. Proper training could prevent many accidents involving heavy trucks. Trucker Buddy and driving schools that teach classes for teenagers stress methods to drive safely near heavy trucks.


Other accidents are caused by distracted drivers such as those talking or texting on cell phones. In fact distracted drivers are responsible for numerous accidents on the roads each year. No one should ever text and drive and drive at the same time.

Accidents can also be caused by mechanical problems with the truck. Trucks must be regularly inspected and maintained to remain in good working condition. Potential dangers can include problems with the engine, tires and brakes.

All accidents involving deaths and injuries involving semi trucks will be investigated. This will determine which driver was at fault in causing the accident. Victims of semi truck accidents whether they are the truck drivers or the occupants of passenger vehicle often require extensive medical care. Attorneys can be very effective in investigating accidents and helping victim receive appropriate compensation for their injuries.

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