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Common Causes of Truck Accidents: A Look Beyond Driver Error

Truck accidents can be devastating, often resulting in serious injuries and fatalities. Due to a commercial truck’s sheer size and weight, collisions with smaller vehicles can lead to catastrophic consequences. While driver error and fatigue are leading causes of accidents, many times, the accident is the result of something beyond the driver’s control. Understanding the common causes of truck accidents is essential to take preventative measures and, if necessary, seek compensation for any damages sustained.

Here are the common causes of truck accidents beyond driver error.

Poor Road Conditions and Inclement Weather

Poorly maintained roads and bad weather conditions can cause truck drivers to lose control of their vehicles. Truck drivers are also taught to avoid dangerous potholes, whose presence on the road can force a truck driver to swerve between lanes. Even in Kansas and Missouri, the roads can become frozen and be dangerous for truck drivers to drive at high speeds.

Maintenance Issues

While drivers and companies should take good care of their equipment and ensure vehicles are in top shape before hitting the road, the equipment can fail, or they can miss something in maintenance checks. Dangerous accidents on the road can result from many mechanical issues, including:

  • Faulty brakes
  • Blown tires
  • Defective exteriors and undercarriages
  • Broken or defective headlights and turn signals
  • Unbalanced cargo
  • Transmission failure
  • Steering wheel problems

Improper Loading

If a truck’s cargo is not secured correctly or evenly distributed, it can cause the vehicle to become unbalanced, increasing the likelihood of a rollover or runaway accident. In some cases, cargo can fall off a truck and create a hazard on the roadway. Between faulty equipment and pressure to complete deliveries fast, drivers can be forced to drive without their cargo secure, leading to potential problems on the road.

Driver Training and Company Priorities

Due to the job's intensity and long hours, truck drivers must have extensive classroom and behind-the-wheel training to ensure they are capable of their jobs. New guidelines were put in place by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) in 2022 to provide minimum training caps for new truck drivers. With the added volume of cargo and driver shortages, companies need to provide ample training for their drivers to be prepared for any scenario on the road.

To cut costs or meet deadlines, companies may be tempted to make lenient guidelines or set unrealistic schedules for drivers, leading to stress, fatigue, speeding, aggressive driving, mechanical issues, and improper loading. Accidents and economic damages can be avoided by a company's commitment to driver safety.

Know Your Rights on the Road

Taking extra care to be safe on the road is essential in avoiding truck accidents. Still, with thousands of trucks hauling cargo and goods daily through Kansas and Missouri, the chance of an accident increases. Each accident is different, with circumstances and causation impacting what your case may look like. At Shamberg, Johnson & Bergman, we know how much of an impact truck accidents can have on your life and how important it is to protect your rights. We represent victims of truck accidents, helping inform their case with personalized care to get you the compensation you deserve.

Contact us at (816) 542-5999 or visit us online for a free consultation.