Do you know the most common causes of 18-wheeler accidents? 18-wheeler accidents are responsible for thousands of injuries every year. With so much commercial traffic moving through Louisiana, our Shreveport personal injury lawyers at the Greenwald Law Firm put together this list of the five most common causes of 18-wheeler accidents. These causes range from negligence to vehicle malfunction to various driver errors.
1. Truck Driver Negligence
Unfortunately, this is the most common cause of a commercial trucking accident. It isn’t because truck drivers are necessarily bad or inconsiderate drivers. Truck drivers have to drive large, dangerous vehicles for long distances. Sometimes, their bosses encourage them to drive far longer than they should to keep up with unreasonable time demands.
Some of the common truck driving mistakes that can lead to claims for compensation include:
Distracted Driving is a Common Cause of 19-Wheeler Accidents
Distracted driving includes anything from talking on the phone to texting. For a truck driver, it can also mean communicating with dispatch, navigating, taking photos, eating or drinking, or watching movies.
Because of the long hours, truck drivers often try to do too many things while they are driving. It is important to remember that doing anything but focusing on the road while driving increases the likelihood of an accident.
Driving Errors Cause 18-Wheeler Crashes
Driving errors include following too closely, changing lanes or merging into oncoming traffic without ensuring it’s safe. Other common driving errors include harsh braking, speeding, or driving too fast for current traffic or road conditions.
Driving While Fatigued Commonly Causes 18-Wheeler Accidents
We already talked about the long hours truck drivers need to be behind the wheel to meet time constraints. Sometimes this might mean going long periods of time without sleep.
Even though federal regulations limit the number of hours truck drivers can spend behind the wheel, trucking companies may encourage their employees to log their hours incorrectly.
Drivers with too many hours behind the wheel are more prone to mistakes than well-rested drivers. They might even fall asleep behind the wheel, which could have disastrous consequences.
Driving While Impaired
Truck drivers are subject to the same faults as other drivers. When they drive under the influence of alcohol, over-the-counter sleep medications, or controlled substances, they are much more likely to cause dangerous accidents.
Because commercial trucks are so much bigger than most vehicles when truck drivers drive while impaired the consequences may be even more dire than usual.
When a truck driver’s negligence leads to an accident, their employer may hold financial responsibility. To determine who is liable to compensate you, you need an attorney.
2. Trucking Company Negligence
The thing about commercial trucks is that it isn’t just the driver who is responsible for the truck. The driver may not even own the truck they are driving. A trucking company could own the truck. Even if the driver owns their own truck, they might be under contract to a trucking company.
Common examples of trucking company negligence are:
- Failing to properly maintain 18-wheelers
- Forcing drivers to log too many hours behind the wheel
- Hiring unlicensed and inexperienced drivers
- Improperly loading 18-wheeler cargo
- Violating federal motor carrier safety standards
When you are dealing with multiple sources of fault, you absolutely need an attorney to represent you. It is possible for multiple parties to be at fault. In some cases, one party might be responsible for 40% of your damages, while another could be responsible for 60%.
3. Road and Weather Conditions
Road and weather conditions also play a part in commercial trucking accidents. Just like other cars, the tires on an 18-wheeler do not grip a wet road as well as a dry one.
If a truck driver fails to account for a slippery road, that may count as negligence on their part.
4. Truck Defects and Maintenance Issues
The fourth most common cause of commercial trucking accidents is truck defects.
Commercial trucks drive long distances in shorter periods of time than other vehicles. There are many working parts on an 18-wheeler that need to perform to maintain the safety of other motorists.
For instance, a defective tire, brakes, or cargo straps could create a dangerous situation for the truck driver and anyone else on the road. Faulty brake jobs or other maintenance issues can also lead to accidents even if the individual truck parts are not defective.
When a defective truck part leads to an accident, multiple parties may be at fault. The trucking company may be at fault if they knowingly sent out a truck with faulty parts. The driver may be at fault if they knew their cargo was not secure.
5. Negligence of Other Drivers
The fifth most common cause of 18-wheeler accidents is the negligence of the drivers around a commercial truck.
Driver error on the part of truck drivers contributes to 18-wheeler accidents. But so does driver error on the part of other drivers.
It is important to remember that 18-wheelers have huge blind spots in places that smaller cars do not. Commercial trucks also take much longer to come to a complete stop than other vehicles. If someone cuts off an 18-wheeler and comes to a sudden stop, the truck driver might not have time to stop. They might not even see the other vehicle.
When you are driving around an 18-wheeler, be mindful of how far you are from the truck. Often in 18-wheeler accidents, the collision itself is more dangerous for the other driver than for the truck driver.
Contact a Shreveport 18-Wheeler Accident Lawyer at Greenwald Law Firm
If you or someone you know has sustained injuries after an 18-wheeler accident, contact the Shreveport personal injury attorneys at Greenwald Law Firm. Attorney Joseph Greenwald, Jr. has nearly twenty years of experience in criminal and civil law.
At the Greenwald Law Firm, we can help you determine who is liable in your commercial trucking accident and help you go after compensation. You can contact us by calling 318.219.7867, or by sending us a message on our website.