Truck Accident Causes

Causes of 18-Wheeler Accidents

Each year, thousands of people are killed and injured in big rig accidents on America’s streets and highways. Shockingly, a person is killed or sustains injuries due to a truck accident every 16 minutes. Although the state of Texas imposes a slower speed limit for trucks of 55 mph on the freeway, many big rig operators disregard this law. Some causes of big rig and truck accidents are fatigue, unsafe operation of the vehicle, and large amounts of cargo.

Commercial trucks such as 18-wheelers, semi trucks, and tractor-trailers can be up to 75 feet long and weigh up to 80,000 pounds. Truck drivers must be especially careful as they must share the roads and highways with significantly smaller motor vehicles. Due to the extreme differences in size and weight, even a small driving error can have catastrophic consequences.

Statistics from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration for 2007 show that there are various causes of truck accidents.

  • Weather conditions: 0%
  • Dangerous roads and missing road signs: 2%
  • Poor truck maintenance: 10%

Truck drivers are required to inspect their vehicles on a daily basis and submit a written report on the vehicle’s condition. The report must include an inspection of the following:

  • Brakes – including trailer brake connection
  • Parking hand brake
  • Steering mechanism
  • Reflectors and lighting devices
  • Tires
  • Horn
  • Windshield wipers
  • Rear vision mirrors
  • Blind spot mirrors
  • Coupling devices
  • Wheels and rims
  • Emergency equipment

The remaining 88% of accidents in 2007 were caused by truck drivers’ bad driving decisions, distraction, or physical factors such as sudden illness or falling asleep at the wheel. Other cases of Austin truck driver negligence included:

  • Failure to properly load the truck
  • Use of drugs and/or alcohol
  • Failure to properly secure the load
  • Speeding to meet unrealistic deadlines
  • Unsafe lane changes
  • Jackknifing
  • Failure to stop at traffic signals or stop signs
  • Inadequate training

Even though Texas state law and code of regulations has very strict guidelines for truck drivers and trucking companies, the economics of the trucking industry often put profit before safety. The law dictates a number of duties that truck drivers must follow:

  • Maximum time on duty and rest time before driving again
  • Driving record
  • Zero tolerance for drugs and alcohol
  • Vehicle condition
  • Safety inspection
  • Driver fatigue

A number of factors can cause truck accidents – from dangerous roadways to truck driver negligence and equipment failure. If you or a loved one is injured in a truck accident, it is important to contact an experienced truck accident attorney immediately after the accident. The Texas personal injury law firm of the Law Office of Joel A. Levine is considered a leader in this area of law. We take on the big trucking companies and their insurance companies and we win large settlements for our injured clients. Our skilled truck accident lawyers will begin an immediate investigation into determining the cause of your accident and will hold the negligent parties fully responsible for your damages – both economic and non-economic. Call us today for a free case evaluation 512-982-1510.

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Law Office of Joel A. Levine
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Austin, Texas 78731


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