Since 2009, semi-truck accidents have increased significantly across the country, with the number of truck crashes rising approximately 45 percent between 2009 and 2018, with most of these accidents taking place on interstate highways or rural areas. In 2018, there were 4,136 reported fatalities from crashes involving large trucks, which was 31 percent higher than in 2009. Meanwhile, about 96 percent of deaths in two-vehicle collisions between passenger vehicles and a large truck were the passenger vehicle occupants.
Several causes of semi-truck accidents include reckless driving/speeding, distracted driving, failing to yield the right-of-way, fatigued driving, and intoxicated driving.
Semi-truck drivers can cause accidents by driving recklessly, such as speeding, changing lanes without using signals, or running red lights or stop signs. Given the additional size and force of large commercial trucks, semi-truck drivers must take extra precautions than many other drivers to ensure the driver has time to stop the vehicle or avoid crashing into another car. In 2018, speeding was the most frequently listed cause of semi-truck accidents in the United States.
Another common cause of many semi-truck accidents is distracted driving. Truck drivers who fail to pay adequate attention to the road while driving may be unable to avoid hazards on the street, fail to stop an intersection, or avoid crashing into another vehicle. Activities such as talking or texting on the phone, adjusting the radio, reaching for dropped items on the floor, or eating all contribute to a driver’s distractions. Indeed, distracted driving was the second most common cause of crashes involving large trucks in 2018.
Failing to yield the right-of-way was listed as the third most common cause of truck crashes in 2018 by the FMCSA. Large trucks may often fail to yield to oncoming traffic when merging onto highways or interstate highways. In many of these instances, the driver may have failed to check blind spots or oncoming traffic properly. In some cases, the truck driver may also run a red light or stop sign, crashing into another vehicle in an intersection, often due to fatigued or distracted driving.
Fatigued driving may often be typical for semi-truck drivers as they rush to meet tight delivery schedules. Trucking companies may encourage or pressure drivers to avoid stopping or forego an appropriate amount of rest to meet these tight schedules. This sense of urgency may often result in tired drivers becoming drowsy and failing to properly pay attention to the road or even falling asleep behind the wheel. Many semi-truck drivers are subject to federal regulations, including “hours-of-service” rules required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), which require truck drivers to rest for set amounts of time after driving for so long. Semi-truck drivers who fail to comply with these rules may cause an accident and may often be liable for any accidents. The FMCSA listed fatigued driving or falling asleep behind the wheel as one of the most common driver impairment-related factors for large truck crashes in 2018.
Finally, as with many vehicle accidents, intoxicated driving may also be a common cause of semi-truck accidents. Truck drivers may get behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, creating a serious danger to other vehicles on the road. For truck drivers, a leading cause of intoxication may often be prescription drug or over-the-counter drug use rather than alcohol, often as drivers attempt to use these drugs to remain alert or awake after failing to rest properly.
Semi-truck accidents may often be problematic in proving the truck driver’s liability for the accident and dealing with the insurance company. Insurance companies often have teams of lawyers to help them pay as little as possible in settling any claim. Therefore, you must hire an experienced semi-truck accident attorney to help you pursue any compensation you may be entitled to. By hiring a skilled personal injury lawyer with experience in negotiating with insurance companies and pursuing truck accident claims, you can level the playing field against the insurer and increase your chances of successfully seeking compensation.
If you have been injured in an accident involving a semi-truck, you should contact Michael Brennan as soon as possible. Michael has years of experience in pursuing truck accident claims and can help you seek compensation for your injuries and damages. Michael Brennan will negotiate with the insurer on your behalf to obtain a satisfactory settlement while making it clear he is willing to take your case to trial, should the insurer refuses to agree to an acceptable settlement demand.