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Common Causes of Truck Accidents

Gilreath's Tennessee trucking accident legal team talk about the most common causes of semi and tractor trailer collisions

Being involved in an accident with a semi-truck is a frightening experience. According to Nolo, there has been a 20 percent rise in truck accidents over the past two decades. Unfortunately, the state of Tennessee ranks 30 percent higher than the national median in these accidents. There are more trucks on the road now than ever before, but what are the real reasons and issues behind so many treacherous collisions?

To Err is Human...

There are a multitude of reasons these accidents occur, but the number one cause – according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) – is driver error. Eighty-eight percent of truck-related crashes are due to error of the driver.  Driver error can consist of many facets:

  • Truck drivers are 10 times more likely to be the cause of an accident than weather, road conditions or any other factors.

  • Prescription and over-the-counter drugs are a huge issue as they often inhibit the ability of the driver to maneuver such a large vehicle properly.

  • Driver fatigue is a serious problem among the trucking industry. Often, the company requirements for a truck driver to reach a destination by a particular time are unrealistic. A lack of sleep and rest is a major concern.

  • Inattention and distractions often cause accidents in trucks as well, just as they do for other drivers. Is the driver eating, drinking, sending a text while driving, or thinking about everything else except the road in front of him?

  • Unfamiliarity with the road can be a problem as well. New routes that are extra mountainous or curvy can catch some truck drivers by surprise.

Due to several of these distractions the driver may run off the road, slam into the back of the vehicle in front of him, or completely lose control of the truck.

Equipment Malfunction

Another major issue that plagues truckers is equipment malfunction. Sometimes these malfunctions are a result of manufacturing or design errors, but often it is because the equipment has not been maintained properly by the trucking company. Below is a list of common equipment failures:

  • Tire blow outs due to severe wear and tear
  • Brakes that give out and should have been changed thousands of miles ago
  • Transmission failure
  • Improper loading of a truck which causes it to fall over and lose the cargo
  • Improper attachment of the trailer
  • Defective rear or side lighting
  • Defective steering

The mileage put on a truck means that proper maintenance must be a priority. If you are a truck driver, make your company aware of issues you notice that need TLC. Put it in writing when you make the company aware of the situation and don't put yourself as the driver in dangerous situations.

Trucking accidents make up only 3 percent of injury related crashes; however, accidents involving tractor trailers are frequently much more severe due to the speed, size and weight involved in these types of crashes.

Any type of auto collision is terrifying and stressful. Deciding who is at fault in a trucking accident can add another dimension to the stress. Often, a person must battle the trucking company, the driver and the insurance company. Having an experienced trucking accident attorney on your side to help you seek the justice and compensation you deserve is strongly advised.

Here at Gilreath & Associates, we represent victims of trucking accidents all of the time. Contact us today for a free consultation. We also invite you to continue browsing our blog and Tennessee Personal Injury Guide for more legal information regarding auto accidents, personal injury disputes and more.

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