Causes of Semi Truck Accidents

As a top truck accident attorney in GA residents can count on, we know the kind of damage a truck can cause. Truck accidents have the potential to cause significant property damage, severe injuries, and even fatalities. In some truck accidents, the driver is at fault; in others, accidents are the result of improper maintenance by the trucking company. These are some of the most common causes of the trucking accidents handled by our truck accident lawyers.

Equipment Failure

Equipment failure is one of the leading causes of trucking accidents. Defective steering columns, tire blowouts, defective brakes, broken headlights, and defective trailer hitches are just a few examples of equipment failure that can lead to a serious accident. Drivers are required to inspect their trucks daily, but these inspections don’t always turn up defects in time to repair them. When you hire a truck accident attorney in GA residents can trust, you need to know that your lawyer knows how to issue spot a defective truck.

taillights on a Georgia truck

Driver Error

Driver error contributes to trucking accidents more often than inclement weather, vehicle performance, or road conditions. Taking curves too fast and failing to watch blind spots are just two examples of the driver errors that contribute to serious accidents. Some drivers rely on their trailer brakes to slow down and stop their vehicles. This minimizes wear and tear on a truck’s front brakes, but it also increases the risk of jackknifing and other accidents.
diagram showing "no-zone" areas around a tractor trailer on the highway

Inclement Weather

Commercial vehicles and bad weather are often a deadly combination. Decreased visibility due to rain or snow makes it difficult for truckers to see warning signs and avoid hazards. Wet roadways are often slippery, making it difficult for a driver to maintain traction. Strong winds can even make it difficult to steer a commercial vehicle safely. The way a driver responds to inclement weather can also increase the risk of an accident. Some drivers ignore bad conditions, while others are too cautious. When you hire a truck accident attorney in GA residents can trust, you need to know that your lawyer knows how to issue spot a defective truck.

tractor trailer truck on a Georgia highway on a foggy morning

Poor Hiring Practices

Trucking companies are supposed to screen drivers thoroughly before making hiring decisions. The screening process involves administering a drug and alcohol test, checking the applicant’s driving record, and making sure the driver has a valid Department of Transportation (DOT) medical certificate. If a trucking company does not adhere to these requirements, it’s possible for a bad driver to slip through the cracks and get behind the wheel of a commercial vehicle.

Sign on the rear of a tractor trailer advertising for hiring

Improper Loading

Trucks carrying cargo are more likely to be involved in accidents if the cargo is not loaded or secured properly. For example, the cargo may fall out of the back of the vehicle, increasing the risk of a rear-end collision. If the weight of the cargo is not distributed properly, the driver may have difficulty maneuvering the vehicle on roadways and in parking lots.

heavy load on a Georgia flatbed trailer chained down well

Drug and Alcohol Use

Many trucking accidents are the result of drug or alcohol use by on-duty drivers. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Act (FMCSA) requires trucking companies to conduct random drug testing to prevent impaired drivers from operating commercial vehicles. Additionally, commercial drivers are not allowed to use alcohol within four hours of beginning their shifts.

Unfortunately, these rules are not enough to prevent every accident. If a trucker passes a random drug test, it doesn’t mean he or she never uses drugs or alcohol. Some companies are so worried about turning a profit that they allow impaired drivers to continue operating commercial vehicles. As a truck accident attorney in GA residents often come to for help, we aggressively go after drivers who drove drunk and the companies that hired those drivers.

Failure to Obey Traffic Laws

Traffic laws are in place to protect drivers, passengers, cyclists, and pedestrians from being injured or killed. When truck drivers fail to obey these laws, serious accidents are more likely to occur. Speeding, failing to use turn signals, failure to stop at traffic lights or stop signs, and failing to slow down in work zones are all potential causes of serious truck accidents.

tractor trailer driver about to exit a Georgia highway

Driver Fatigue

The FMCSA imposes hours-of-service rules on commercial drivers meeting certain criteria. Drivers may not drive for more than 11 hours in a 14-hour period. Additionally, drivers are limited to working 60 hours in seven consecutive days or 70 hours in eight consecutive days. The restriction depends on whether or not a trucking company operates trucks seven days per week. Once drivers reach the limit, they are required to stay off duty for a minimum of 34 consecutive hours. Unfortunately, as a truck accident attorney in GA residents come to with questions, we have learned that not everyone follows these rules.

In the trucking industry, time is money. Some drivers stay on the road even when they are too tired to operate a vehicle in a safe manner. Fatigue reduces reaction times, makes it difficult to focus, and impairs judgment. Tired drivers are more likely to drift in their lanes, fail to stop when required, or fail to pay attention to road conditions. All of these things increase the risk for crashes. Accidents resulting from driver fatigue are often more serious than other accidents because the driver doesn’t make an attempt to avoid crashing.

truck stop at night

Aggressive Driving

Aggressive driving is never a good thing, but it’s particularly dangerous when the driver is behind the wheel of a vehicle weighing 10,000 pounds or more. Flashing high beams, tailgating, making sudden stops, speeding, and making offensive gestures at other drivers are all examples of the aggressive behavior displayed by some truck drivers. Hiring a top truck accident attorney in GA residents trust is an important decision. You want to know that the lawyer you trust with your case, is someone who other people think highly of. For that reason, among others, we strongly suggest you read our work product and watch our videos. You will find that our aggressive lawyers go after aggressive driving truck drivers.

flatbed trailer with a heavy load strapped down driving on a Georgia highway

Distracted Driving

Drivers are supposed to pay attention to the road, not talk on their phones or fiddle with the radio. Unfortunately, distracted driving is a serious problem in Georgia and the United States as a whole. Distractions are dangerous for any driver, but they’re even more dangerous for commercial drivers carrying heavy cargo loads. A good truck accident attorney in GA trusts will dig into the evidence to see if the driver was operating his vehicle while he was distracted by something else. The Department of Transportation classifies distractions as follows:

  • Anything that causes the driver to take his or her eyes off the road (e.g. looking at a GPS screen)
  • Anything that causes the driver to take his or her hands off the wheel (e.g. eating or drinking)
  • Anything that takes a driver’s mind off the task of driving (e.g. worrying about personal problems)
  • If a truck driver stops paying attention for even a few seconds, a serious accident can occur.

a driver texting while driving on a Georgia road

Inadequate Truck Maintenance

When drivers complete their daily inspections, they fill out inspection reports and file those reports with their employers. Motor carriers are responsible for reviewing these reports and repairing any defects as soon as possible. Trucking companies are also responsible for maintaining their vehicles. Regular maintenance prevents brake failure, tire blowouts, and other types of equipment failure, which reduces the risk of trucking accidents. If a motor carrier ignores inspection reports or fails to maintain vehicles properly, the results can be devastating.

Commercial trucks are some of the most dangerous vehicles on Georgia’s roadways. If you were involved in a trucking accident, we can’t take away your pain. What we can do as a truck accident attorney in GA residents hire is mount a thorough investigation, gather information, retain experts, and help you win against the driver and trucking company responsible for the crash.

Georgia truck mechanic working on a semi-tractor truck

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