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What Causes Semi-Truck Accidents?

semi truck speedingWith miles and miles of highways, Southern California drivers often share the road with Semi-Trucks. In sharing the roads, accidents happen, and unfortunately people are injured or lose their lives. In 2012, 3,921 people were killed due to car accidents involving large trucks (semi-trucks). Another 104,000 people were injured and 333,000 large trucks were involved in accidents.

With this many deaths and injuries, it is useful for drivers to understand what happens in the moments leading up to these accidents? What led to the collision? Why do these accidents happen?

These questions lead to the major question: What causes accidents with Semi-Trucks?

What Causes Semi-Truck Accidents

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration published a study analyzing crashes involving large trucks. The study attempted to analyze what causes these types of accidents. In analyzing, researchers broke down the causation into three different research categories: (1) critical event, (2) critical reason and (3) associated factors.

1. Critical Event

The critical event is incident or event that directly resulted in a collision. The study described this event as making the crash inevitable and unavoidable. The top three critical events causing accidents involving large trucks were:

  1. Running out of lane either into another lane or onto shoulder
  2. Loss of control due to speed, cargo shift, system failure or road conditions
  3. Rear-ending another vehicle in the same lane

2. Critical Reason

The critical reason is the underlying reason the critical event happened. This refers to what caused the semi-truck to either leave their lane, to rear-end another vehicle or to get into an accident. The top four critical reasons causing accidents involving large trucks were:

  1. Driver Decision (driving too fast, misjudging speed of other vehicles, follow too closely)
  2. Driver Recognition (inattentive, distracted, failing to observe situation for other reasons)
  3. Driver Non-Performance (asleep, physically impaired – heart attack or seizure)
  4. Driver Performance (panic, stress, overcompensating)

3. Associated Factors

The final category was other factors which contributed to the large truck accident. These factors commonly contribute with other causes. The top four associated factors were:

  1. Brake Problems
  2. Traffic
  3. Prescription Drug Use
  4. Traveling Too Fast for Conditions

Examining the Common Causes of Truck Accidents

Large, heavy, and difficult to stop, accidents with semi-trucks are often catastrophic. They are also likely to result in severe or fatal injuries for the victims involved. Sadly, many of them can be prevented. Learn more about the causes of semi-truck accidents in California, and how you may be entitled to compensation if you or someone you love has experienced an injury or fatality, with help from the following information.

Other Road Users are a Common Cause of Collisions

Perhaps one of the most disturbing statistics regarding truck accidents is the sheer number caused by other road users. Often unaware of the limitations of a semi, these drivers may:

  • Drive in the truck’s blind spot,
  • Move to the right of a truck trying to make a right turn,
  • Pull in front of the truck to merge into traffic,
  • Not accelerate quickly enough while merging into traffic in front of the truck,
  • Misjudge the truck’s approaching speed and try to cross or turn in front of it,
  • Abruptly change lanes in front of the truck,
  • Try to pass the truck and get caught in its crosswind,
  • Park a disabled vehicle without fully getting it onto the shoulder, and
  • Drive between large trucks.

In these types of accidents, the driver of the other vehicle may be considered negligent. Sadly, though, they may injure more than just themselves. The truck driver and other road users around the truck are also at risk. Should any of them experience injuries, the vehicle driver may be held liable. However, an investigation would need to be done to determine the direct cause and of the accident. Further, the driver of the truck may have also acted negligently, which creates yet another layer of complexity for injured victims.

When a Truck Driver is Negligent

Although commercial truck drivers are trained to safely maneuver through traffic, not all act responsibly. In fact, drunk and drugged driving are common issues. Distracted driving also occurs. Furthermore, the driver may have failed to follow basic safe driving rules, such as not practicing defensive driving, speeding, or not getting enough sleep. Health complications, such as sleep apnea may also be an issue. In such situations, victims may be eligible for compensation from the driver. Keep in mind, however, that an investigation may still be needed, and there may be other negligent parties involved (i.e. the trucking company, a loading company, etc.).

If you or your loved one has been injured in an accident involving a large truck or semi-truck, please contact the experienced attorneys at Martinez & Schill LLP. These accidents can involve significant injuries and our personal injury attorneys are experienced in determining causation in a particular semi-truck accident and may be able to offer insight into potentially culpable parties.  We don’t get paid until we recover compensation on your behalf, so call today for a free consultation.  San Diego 619-512-5995 or Riverside 951-200-4630.

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