In 2021, there were 6,214 crashes involving trucks in Washington. Of these accidents, 671 resulted in death or injury.
But even minor accidents can result in heavy damages and costly bills. For this reason, it’s good to keep your eyes open for these ten common causes of truck accidents.
1. Reckless Driving
Reckless driving includes numerous types of careless and aggressive behavior and can be the truck driver’s or another driver’s fault.
Examples of reckless driving include changing lanes right in front of a truck, unsafe passing, failing to yield the right of way, and ignoring traffic signals. Impatience and road rage behaviors like tailgating or cutting off another driver can also cause a severe commercial vehicle accident.
2. Distracted Driving
While distracted driving can be a subset of reckless driving, distractions are not always a result of recklessness. Essentially, distracted driving is anything that stops a driver from focusing on the road. Texting while driving is considered distracted driving. But even just taking your eyes off the road for 10 seconds can cause death, horrendous injuries, and property damage.
Speeding is another subset of reckless driving. But speeding deserves its own category since it’s one of the most common reckless behaviors responsible for accidents. In fact, in 2021, speeding was one of the top accident-causing behaviors on Washington roadways. Add a truck to the mix, which is slower to break or react to changes in momentum, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.
4. Driving Under the Influence of Drugs or Alcohol
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations, a CDL commercial motor vehicle operator is considered under the influence of alcohol and subject to sanctions if they drive with a 0.04% blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level or more.
The regulations also prohibit truck drivers from drinking alcohol while on duty. And they bar drivers from consuming alcohol within four hours of driving a commercial company vehicle. Any amount of drinking or drug use while behind the wheel is a common cause of collisions.
5. Driving While Fatigued or Drowsy
Drowsy driving and driver fatigue are serious causes of commercial truck accidents. It’s one of the primary reasons the FMCSA regulates the total hours a commercial truck driver can drive.
Unfortunately, company scheduling practices and culture often put pressure on truck drivers to get from one place to another quickly. This pressure can contribute to situations where a driver ignores FMCSA rules, resulting in deadly consequences.
6. Bad Weather Conditions
Bad weather leads to flooding, low visibility, and slick, dangerous roads. All of which can lead to disaster. Things from speeding on a low-visibility foggy day to a delay in salting the road in a blizzard can make it harder for a driver to control their truck. And unfortunately, a loss of control can equal multiple vehicle pile ups and injuries.
7. Driver Inexperience and Poor Training
A new driver may not know enough to avoid things like being caught between two semis on the road or driving in a truck’s “No-Zone,” which is the area behind and beside a commercial truck where the truck driver has limited or zero visibility. Likewise, a truck driver may lack proper training in driving techniques, safety maneuvers, and defensive driving.
8. Unsafe Road Maintenance
Poor road maintenance and road construction are both common causes of truck accidents. Confusing temporary traffic signals and unexpected last-minute detours can result in a truck colliding with another vehicle. And a poorly lit road can cause limited visibility, which can worsen blind spots and make it harder for a driver to see curves and other cars.
9. Vehicle Defects or Poorly Maintained Vehicles
Worn tires can cause blowouts. And a company’s failure to inspect a truck’s brakes can lead to things like a runaway truck. Sometimes, a truck can suffer from a defect even with a proper inspection. Generally, any maintenance or manufacturer error can contribute to an accident if left unaddressed.
10. Poor Cargo Loading
A poorly loaded truck may result in cargo falling into the roadway at high speeds, which can cause drivers to swerve and result in road obstructions. Trucks carrying large loads can also have a tire blowout or tip over if the load is out of balance.
Contact Our Experienced Truck Accident Attorneys
Retaining the best legal representation is essential if you’ve been in a truck accident. A skilled truck accident attorney will fight for your rights and help to ensure you receive fair compensation.
With more than 50 years of combined experience fighting for clients injured by another’s negligence, the Kapuza Lighty Accident Injury lawyers are in your corner. We provide exceptional service tailored to each client and will strive to make things as easy for you as possible. Call us at (509) 866-4166 or send an online message today for a free consultation.