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Leading Causes of Commercial Truck Accidents

truck crash on highwayBecause commercial trucks are much larger and heavier than passenger vehicles, they can cause devastating injuries when involved in a collision with a smaller vehicle.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a commercial truck accident, contact our personal injury attorneys to review your claim. We can determine if you are entitled to compensation for the injuries you have suffered.

Schmidt Kramer’s Harrisburg truck accident lawyers offer a free, no obligation consultation to look into your accident and identify the parties that could be held liable for your injuries.

The following are six common causes of commercial truck accidents:

1. Truck Driver Error

Truck drivers have a duty to follow all state and local traffic laws while on the road, and to drive safely and reasonably. Truck driver errors can cause serious accidents. Common examples of truck driver error include:

  • Aggressive driving
  • Following too closely
  • Speeding
  • Unsafe lane changes
  • Not checking blind spots
  • Running red lights
  • Distracted driving

2. Truck Driver Fatigue

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has hours of service regulations that dictate how long a truck driver can be on the road and mandatory rest breaks that must be followed for all long-distance drives.

These rules are meant to help prevent dangerous driver fatigue that can cause unsafe driving behaviors such as:

  • Drifting across lanes
  • Delayed reaction time
  • Difficulty focusing

Truck drivers are required to keep a logbook detailing daily schedules and the number of hours driven during each shift, as well as rest times. If hours-of-service violations occurred at the time of your accident, the driver and his or her employer could be held liable for the accident.

3. Driving Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol

Truck drivers are prohibited from operating commercial trucks while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. These substances can severely impair a driver’s ability to concentrate, causing effects such as:

  • Reduced coordination and vision
  • Limited reaction times to traffic changes and hazards
  • Impacted ability to make sudden driving decisions

Truck companies must conduct random drug and alcohol tests for all drivers. Companies must also test a driver if he or she has been involved in an accident causing serious damage, injury or death. When a driver tests positive for alcohol or drug use following an accident, he or she may be liable for injuries or deaths that occurred.

4. Defects in the Vehicle

If a part on a truck is malfunctioning or its design is defective, it can cause an accident. Common defects in commercial trucks include:

  • Poorly manufactured tires
  • Defective hitches
  • Damaged axles
  • Faulty brake systems

5. Poor Maintenance

The FMCSA requires that commercial trucks receive routine maintenance and safety inspections. These measures are meant to prevent accidents caused by wear and tear of the truck.

Truck drivers are required to perform maintenance inspections before leaving on a trip. The truck’s owner must perform more thorough safety inspections on a routine basis.

Drivers and owners must perform regular inspections and maintenance on all truck components, including:

  • Hitches and couplers
  • Axles
  • Tires
  • Steering system
  • Brake system
  • Light systems
  • Electrical system

6. Improper Loading

The FMCSA has specific weight requirements and mandates that cargo must be properly secured within or on a truck’s trailer.

Cargo may fall off the truck and into traffic if not properly secured to the trailer, which can result in an accident. Trucks that are loaded with cargo that is too heavy risk tipping or falling over if the truck makes a sharp turn. Excessive weight also impacts the driver’s ability to safely steer and stop the truck when needed.

Contact Schmidt Kramer Today

Schmidt Kramer’s truck accident attorneys in Harrisburg are experienced handling injury claims in commercial truck collisions. If you or someone you love has been injured in a commercial truck accident, we will investigate your case and determine the parties that can be held liable for the injuries suffered. We will fight to protect your rights and pursue maximum compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Contact us now for a free, no obligation case review. We work on contingency, so there are no upfront fees or risks to you. You only pay us if we help you recover compensation for your injuries.

Call (717) 888-8888 or fill out our Free Case Review form now.