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Mainstage v10 img 1 at morris & dewett injury lawyers, we are skilled at investigating truck accidents and identifying when negligence is involved. Backed by more than 20 years’ experience and a winning record, our truck accident lawyers know how to help victims get justice and make liable parties pay for the harm they’ve caused. We are also dedicated to providing exceptional advocacy while tirelessly fighting for the best possible outcomes in even the toughest cases.

CAUSES OF TRUCK ACCIDENTS

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WHAT CAUSES 18-WHEELER WRECKS?

Most Tractor-Trailer Crashes Are Caused by Avoidable Negligence

18-wheeler wrecks can be caused by several factors. Whatever those end up being, they are usually the result of carelessness, oversights, and errors that could have been prevented if some party were more responsible.

At Morris & Dewett Injury Lawyers, we are skilled at investigating truck accidents and identifying when negligence is involved. Backed by more than 20 years’ experience and a winning record, our truck accident lawyers know how to help victims get justice and make liable parties pay for the harm they’ve caused. We are also dedicated to providing exceptional advocacy while tirelessly fighting for the best possible outcomes in even the toughest cases.

When you need help figuring out the causes of an 18-wheeler crash and it’s time for answers about your legal options, simply contact us.

We’re ready to help you 27/4, and we know how to win when it matters most.

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Please don’t hesitate to reach out to Morris & Dewett Injury Lawyers for confidential answers and advice whenever you need information pertaining to your situation and potential claim.

What Causes Most Truck Accidents?

Motorist negligence is the single most common cause of big rig crashes (source: FMCSA). This includes:
  • Any driver behind the wheel:

    Commercial truckers, passenger vehicle drivers, bus drivers, and other motorists can all make errors that contribute to 18-wheeler accidents.
  • Various forms of driver negligence:

    Driver intoxication, inattention, and fatigue can all play a role in causing tractor-trailer wrecks. So can failures to adjust speeds in adverse conditions or failures to comply with any traffic laws.
Beyond motorist errors, other leading causes of truck accidents include vehicle equipment problems and environmental factors, as the following table shows (source: FMCSA).
Critical Factor Causing a Truck AccidentNumber of Truck Accidents% of Total Truck Accidents (in a year)
Driver Error 68,000 87%
Vehicle Issue 8,000 10%
Environment 2,000 3%
Below is a deeper dive into each of these factors that can cause truck accidents. Keep in mind that a single 18-wheeler crash could involve all two or more of these factors.

#1 Cause of Truck Accidents: Driver Negligence

Any driver can be careless, inattentive, impaired, or just lax when it comes to complying with traffic laws. Whether driver negligence results from a lack of experience, sobriety, or responsibility on the roads, it tends to take one of four forms outlined in the table below (source: FMCSA).
Type of Driver Error Causing a Truck AccidentNumber of Truck Accidents% of Total Truck Accidents (in a year)Examples
Decision Errors 30,000 38% Speeding, tailgating & failing to adjust speeds in adverse conditions
Recognition Errors 22,000 28% Misinterpreting or failing to see signals or surroundings due to driver fatigue or driver distraction
Non-performance Errors9,000 12%Failing to slow down around curves or failing to stop at red lights
Performance Errors7,0009% Overcompensating after a turn or driving aggressively

Tire tread marks on the roads, damage to vehicles, and witness statements can help shed light

on when driver negligence may have caused a truck accident. So can cellphone records, police reports, and deeper investigations into 18-wheeler wrecks.

A truck accident attorney at Morris & Dewett Injury Lawyers can help you investigate a big rig crash to determine when driver and/or other negligence may be involved.

#2 Cause of Truck Accidents: Motor Carrier Negligence

Trucking companies do not always abide by state and federal regulations. In fact, motor carriers often knowingly violate trucking regulations in an effort to cut corners, speed up deliveries, and maximize profits. When that happens, negligent motor carriers can contribute to 18-wheeler wrecks by:
Motor carrier records — along with vehicle and trucker records — can go a long way to uncovering trucking company negligence after a tractor-trailer wreck. So can data from electronic logging devices on trucks, dashcams, and more.

#3 Cause of Truck Accidents: Vehicle Problems

Big rigs are driven much more than passenger vehicles, spending hours on the roads, often towing heavy loads. Consequently, it’s no surprise that the equipment and systems on 18-wheelers would have a greater risk of failure.

In fact, according to authorities, trucking equipment failures happen about twice as often as passenger vehicle equipment failures. And those failures tend to affect the brakes and tires most often, both of which take a lot of wear and tear on the roads (source: FMCSA).

The following table shows the vehicle equipment problems that contribute to most 18-wheeler wrecks.
Vehicle Factor Causing a Truck AccidentNumber of Truck Accidents% of Total Truck Accidents (in a year)
Brake Problems 41,000 29%
Tire Problems 8,000 6%
Cargo Shifting 6,000 4%
Here, it’s essential to note that 18-wheelers are at a greater risk of equipment failures when factors like the following are also involved:
This is another area where various records can be crucial. Those records may not be easy to pull together and interpret, however. And they may not be available forever.

#4 Cause of Truck Accidents: Environmental Factors

Beyond drivers, motor carriers, and vehicle equipment, road and weather conditions can also cause 18-wheeler crashes. Specifically:
  • Weather can impact road conditions and visibility:
    Storms, fog, and strong winds are just a few weather conditions that can make the roads riskier. In fact, while some weather can reduce traction with the roads or impair motorists’ ability to see clearly, high winds can increase the rise of rollovers. Plus, drivers may fail to adjust their speeds in adverse weather. Any of these factors can end up causing tractor-trailer crashes.
  • Poor road conditions can cause several risks:
    Potholes, missing traffic signs, broken traffic signals, and debris in the roads are just some examples of poor road conditions that can contribute to 18-wheeler crashes. In fact, while road issues can increase the risk of vehicle failures, like tire blowouts, they can also make it more difficult to safely maneuver big rigs in traffic. Both of those factors can result in truck accidents.
When environmental factors cause truck wrecks, various evidence can become critical, from witness statements and accident scene photos to police reports and more.
Two cars crash on the road
Aerial view of road accident with overturned truck blocking traffic

How Do Drivers Cause Truck Accidents?

Motorists can end up causing 18-wheeler accidents in several ways, with the top three causes — when looking at truck driver negligence specifically — including:
  • 1
    Speeding
  • 2
    Driving on unfamiliar roads
  • 3
    Impairment from over-the-counter drugs
The table below breaks down the trucker behaviors and errors that most often cause truck wrecks (source: FMCSA). Keep in mind that other motorists can also be culpable of these errors, and that many truck accidents are caused by the negligence of passenger vehicle drivers (rather than truckers).
Type of Driver Error Causing a Truck AccidentNumber of Truck Accidents% of Total Truck Accidents (in a year)
Traveling too fast for conditions 32,000 23%
Driving on unfamiliar roads 31,000 22%
Over-the-counter drug use 25,000 17%
Inadequate surveillance 20,000 14%
Driver fatigue 18,000 13%
Felt under work pressure from carrier 16,000 10%
Illegal maneuvers 13,000 9%
Inattention to the roads 12,000 9%
External distractions 11,000 8%
Following too closely 7,000 5%
Internal distractions 4,000 3%
Illegal drug use 3,000 2%
Alcohol impairment 1,000 1%

What Caused My Truck Accident?

The evidence associated with your wreck will help you answer this question, and obtaining that evidence usually requires meticulous follow-up investigations. As part of this process, you’ll likely need to answer questions like (but not limited to) the following:
With some deeper digging, evidence like (but not limited to) the following can begin to help you figure out what caused a tractor-trailer accident and who may be liable for it:
Depending on the evidence and accident, it may be necessary to:
Car incident on highway from passing car.

Why Do I Need to Know What Caused My Truck Accident?

The causes of a truck accident can uncover liability and the legal remedies available to help victims recover. The truth is that at-fault parties aren’t usually going to step forward and admit liability or be forthcoming about paying victims what they deserve. In fact, liable parties can and do point fingers at each other — and at victims too.

That’s why it’s especially crucial for victims to establish the causes of an 18-wheeler wreck for themselves and get their own assessment when it comes to liability. And the best way to do that is with the help of an experienced truck accident lawyer.

At Morris & Dewett Injury Lawyers, we’re experienced at identifying the causes of truck accidents and proving liability. No matter how complex a case may be, we’re effective at crafting strong claims and securing the maximum available compensation outside and inside the courtroom.

A 5-Star Truck Accident Lawyer Is Ready to Help You 24/7

If you or a loved one has been harmed in a big rig wreck, a truck accident lawyer at Morris & Dewett Injury Lawyers can help you determine the causes and your legal options. We can also help you take the right steps to recover and protect your rights when it matters most.

Dedicated to providing strategic, compassionate representation, we offer the advocacy we would expect in your shoes — and we are relentless about seeking the best resolutions possible.

Discover the difference our team can make in your case and recovery by contacting us today.

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