Accidents involving 18-wheelers are some of the deadliest on our roadways. Due to the weight and size of a tractor-trailer, it is usually the occupants of the smaller vehicle who are seriously injured or killed when a collision occurs.
At Guajardo & Marks, our Dallas 18-wheeler accident attorneys have represented many clients who have been injured as a result of these collisions. Victims can suffer broken bones, traumatic brain injuries, organ damage, spinal cord injuries and severe burns. While vehicle accidents are caused by many different factors, there are a few common causes of 18-wheeler accidents. Here ten factors that can contribute to tractor-trailer accidents.
10 Common Causes of 18-Wheeler Accidents
In 2014, there were 417 fatalities and 839 incapacitating injuries in large truck accidents in Texas. There are many causes of vehicle accidents, and these accidents can have multiple contributing factors.
- Speeding – Speeding is more than just exceeding a posted speed limit. It also means traveling too fast for conditions, such as heavy rain, snow or ice. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says that loss of vehicle control due to traveling too fast for conditions was the critical factor in 29 percent of large truck accidents.
- Improper Lane Changes – This can include a failure to signal before changing lanes, or failing to notice the presence of another vehicle before shifting lanes. Another related issue is running out of road space due to merging lanes.
- Failure to Observe Traffic Lights or Traffic Signs – If a truck driver fails to properly observe traffic signs, such as stop signs or yield signs, the results can be very dangerous for other vehicles.
- Unbalanced or Empty Trailers – When a truck’s trailer is empty, or if it has poor weight distribution, it can be difficult for inexperienced drivers to handle. These accidents often occur right after a driver has unloaded their cargo and has not yet adjusted to braking or steering without the extra weight.
- Drowsy Driving – Drowsy driving is a major concern in the trucking world. To reduce the risk of fatigued truck drivers, Hours of Service rules were put into place, limiting the amount of time a driver can spend behind the wheel on a single day.
- Impaired Driving – Drunk driving is a major concern for road safety. Truck drivers typically have a lower rate of impaired driving when compared to other types of drivers. Impaired driving can also involve other substances, such as prescription medication, methamphetamines or marijuana.
- Distracted Driving – Distracted driving covers a wide range of activities that take a driver’s attention off of the road. Talking on a phone, texting, eating and using a radio or navigation system while driving can lead to distracted driving accidents.
- Defective Vehicle Parts – Sometimes it is not driver error but equipment failure that leads to a traffic accident. This can include defective tires, brakes or headlights. Accidents involving 18-wheelers due to defective vehicle parts can be the fault of the manufacturer or the company responsible for maintaining a truck.
- Poor Road Conditions – Poorly maintained roads can also contribute to large truck accidents. This can include potholes, fallen traffic signs or broken guardrails. Poor road conditions can set off a chain reaction, such as tire blowouts, that lead to vehicle accidents.
- Weather Conditions – Snow, ice and rain can all set the stage for serious semi-truck accidents. While experienced drivers generally know how to navigate bad weather conditions, younger or inexperienced truck drivers might not be so adept at handling hazardous road conditions.
This list by no means contains all the causes of 18-wheeler accidents. Other factors, such as driver inexperience, can be an underlying cause of many of these accidents.
Have You Been Injured in a Large Truck Accident?
If you or a loved one has been injured in an 18-wheeler accident, you might be able to seek compensation for the damages you have suffered. Truck drivers often work for companies who have large legal teams that work to reduce their liability after these incidents, so it is important to have an 18-wheeler accident attorney who won’t be intimated. Our experienced legal team will fight for you to make sure that you are treated fairly. Contact Guajardo & Marks today to learn how we can help you.