What Are the Most Common Causes of Semi-Truck Accidents?

Every year, Georgia sees scores of serious semi-truck accidents. A semi-trailer truck is the combination of a tractor unit and one or more semi-trailers that carry freight. Any kind of big rig accident involving a truck and another vehicle is likely to cause serious injuries to the occupants of the smaller vehicle.

The most common causes of semi-truck or tractor-trailer crashes are described below. Driver error is the most significant cause of wrecks.

Driver Error

The Large Truck Crash Causation Study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration found mistakes by truckers and poor driving to be the most significant factor in semi-truck crashes.

Many truckers were found to be traveling too fast for conditions and unfamiliar with roadways. Fatigue is also a major cause of trucking crashes while some drivers are impaired due to alcohol or the use of prescribed drugs.

Semi-truck accidents - the causes

The most common causes of semi-truck accidents

In the wake of a serious trucking accident, injury lawyers will typically first look at the behavior of the trucker as well as his or her employer.  The trucking company may have allowed an incompetent or driver with a history of drug and alcohol use on the roads or failed to follow federal rules related to the maximum hours that drivers can work per shift.

Poor Vehicle Maintenance

Commercial trucks drive thousands of miles every single day. They face considerably more wear and tear than private vehicles. Trucking companies, maintenance crews, and drivers must regularly carry out repairs to the fleet. Issues such as worn tires or brake pads can be critical on trucks weighing up to 80,000 pounds. The semi-driver is responsible for checking his or her vehicle at the beginning of every shift and for submitting a vehicle maintenance report. Failure to do so can be a death sentence for other road users.

Bad Weather

Rain, snow, and ice increase the challenges inherent in driving a semi-truck. Big rigs take considerably longer to stop in bad weather. Drivers must adjust their speed to cope with these conditions to avoid jackknifing, hydroplaning or skidding. High-sided trucks face particular dangers in blustery conditions on exposed bridges. During strong winds, you should give semi-trucks a wide berth.

Failure of Equipment

Aside from poor maintenance, parts and equipment may fail on semi-trucks with catastrophic consequences. Tires may come apart because they were improperly manufactured. If a defective vehicle part causes a crash, the victims may have grounds to sue a truck or a part manufacturer in a product liability case.

Improper Loading of Cargo

Truckers and specialized cargo loading teams must follow a strict set of rules when loading commercial trucks.  There are certain weight, length, size, width, and height limits to a load, as well as specified methods of securing cargo for road transportation. Nevertheless, we see too many instances in which cargo falls off a truck and causes a crash or poor loading causes a truck to tip over.

Increasingly, trucking companies are using techniques such as telematics, real-time monitoring and sensors to check if trucks are improperly loaded.

The victims of semi-truck accidents in Georgia are often less concerned about why an accident happened than how to get better and make a recovery against a trucker or a company. However, a Georgia trucking injury lawyer must get to the bottom of what went wrong to apportion liability. Often many parties can be sued after a semi-truck wreck. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a semi-truck accident in Georgia, please call The Law Office of Michael West at (404) 913-1529.

America has a massive shortage of truck drivers and it’s getting more severe. That spells bad news not only for commerce in Georgia but for other drivers on the roads.

Recently, a report in The Street noted the shortage of truckers may triple by 2026. As many as 60,000 more truckers are required to meet a robust demand for goods and services and that’s a conservative estimate.

Seaport Global Securities LLC analyst Kevin Sterling told the publication the real shortage could be closer to 100,000 truckers.

The truck driver shortage is nothing new. However, a more buoyant economy has exacerbated the problem.

Factors driving the trucker shortage include an aging workforce, driver turnover rates approaching 90 percent, increased demand for freight and a concerns about the trucking lifestyle that make other career options more attractive.

While some trucking companies have boosted wages, industry experts say the hikes are not enough to attract the numbers of drivers the industry requires.

The high turnover is a reflection of wages and tough working conditions. Drivers are habitually away from their families for long periods of time.

Trucking is also a dangerous industry. In 2016, a report from the U.S. Department of Labor stated one in six workers killed on the job in America died driving a commercial truck.

The report stated 761 tractor-trailer drivers died on the road. The figure marked the fifth year in a row that the number of truck driver fatalities rose. Drivers also face a host of other injuries from long hours on the road including slip-and-falls and serious musculoskeletal disorders.

In recent months, the federal government has rolled back or canceled some initiatives intended to make trucking safer. The government backtracked on speed-limiting software for trucks as well as measures to beef up sleep apnea monitoring.

Our Georgia truck accident injury lawyers fear the truck driver shortage could mean more inexperienced truck drivers ending up on the roads around Atlanta. Existing truckers may be forced by their employers to be on the roads for longer hours.

Fatigue is one of the most common causes of tractor-trailer accidents that can often be devastating for motorists. If you have been harmed in a wreck with a big rig in Georgia, please contact the Law Office of Michael West today at (404) 913-1529.