You’ll commonly find trucks on the road, but we expect professional truck drivers to drive safely on a consistent basis. How common are truck accidents? And what are the common causes of truck accidents?

Understanding these dynamics can help you stay safer on the road and know exactly what to do if you’re ever involved in a truck accident.

Why Truck Accidents Matter

Accidents are accidents, right?

Why is it important to review truck accident rates, specifically?

  •       Trucks are everywhere. First, large trucks are everywhere. Highways, rural roads, and everything in between are home to trucks traveling at high speeds and ordinary drivers trying to drive alongside them. This makes the risk of truck accidents ever present.
  •       Trucks are big and powerful. The biggest difference between a truck accident and an ordinary vehicle accident is the scale of destruction. Trucks are massive, powerful machines, so even if they’re traveling at the same speed as a typical consumer vehicle, they carry much greater destructive potential.
  •       Trucks aren’t like most consumer vehicles. There are other considerations to bear in mind with the design of trucks as well. Trucks are far less maneuverable and much harder to bring to a complete stop, especially at high speeds. They also have particular blind spots, making it hard for truck drivers to see approaching vehicles at times.
  •       Truck accident lawsuits are complicated. If you were in a destructive truck accident, you may be in a position to file a lawsuit with a truck accident lawyer – and you’ll definitely need legal representation, as truck accidents are notoriously complicated. They tend to involve significant damage, as well as multiple interested parties, like truck drivers, the trucking company, and commercial insurance companies. This can make navigating a personal injury claim much harder and more time consuming without adequate representation.

Truck Accident Frequency

In 2021, there were 5,700 large trucks involved in fatal crashes. About 5 percent of all registered vehicles are large trucks, but they represent about 10 percent of total vehicle miles traveled. Additionally, they represent 9 percent of all vehicles involved in fatal crashes – slightly less than we would expect from the 10 percent of total vehicle miles traveled statistic, but still considerable.

Common Causes of Truck Accidents

These are some of the most common causes of truck accidents:

  •       Fatigue. Driving a car for a few minutes isn’t at all tiring. But driving a truck for hours on end and attempting to meet tight deadlines without taking adequate breaks can be downright exhausting. That’s why many truck accidents are a byproduct of driver fatigue.
  •       Distractions. Most truck drivers are highly professional, and they take their jobs very seriously, but it’s possible for truck drivers to be distracted just as consumer vehicle drivers. Checking a phone, unwrapping a snack, or even looking at a different accident can all be the first domino in a chain of events that lead to an accident.
  •       Intoxication. Some truck drivers are willing to drive even while intoxicated. Alcohol and psychoactive drugs interfere with your judgment, reaction time, and physical capabilities, making anyone more susceptible to errors and collisions.
  •       Recklessness. Recklessness also leads to a higher accident rate. When truck drivers speed, ignore signs, or engage in risky behaviors to meet deadlines, everyone on the road becomes more vulnerable.
  •       Maintenance issues. People often underestimate the role that poor maintenance can have on highway safety. If trucks aren’t properly maintained or repaired, they could unexpectedly break down, resulting in an accident.
  •       Cargo loading issues. Improperly secured loads cause truck accidents as well. If the cargo on the back of a truck falls out or otherwise interferes with the operation of the vehicle, it can cause a chain of events that lead to a collision.
  •       Inclement weather. Bad weather can also cause truck accidents. While truck drivers are usually trained to handle things like heavy snow or rain, these conditions make it much harder to operate a vehicle safely. All it takes is one slip up from any driver on the road to cause a catastrophic pile-up under these conditions.
  •       Education and training issues. More than 98 percent of accidents are caused by human error – and people are much more likely to commit those errors when they’ve been poorly trained or educated. Unfortunately, not all trucking companies take driver education and training seriously, resulting in inferior drivers who are more likely to be in accidents.

Although most truck drivers are well trained, experienced, and good at their jobs, the destructive detention of trucks makes it so even a small number of accidents can be devastating. If you’re ever involved in a truck accident, get to safety as soon as possible, gather evidence, and talk to a truck accident lawyer to discuss your next steps.