What are common causes of trucking accidents?

Big rig drivers may get into an accident due to vehicle malfunctions, environment problems or driver distractions.

Louisiana roads are often full of semis, buses and other automobiles. Anyone on the road could be involved in a collision of some sort. However, those who drive long distances for a living may find themselves with an increased risk of getting in an accident. According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, there were 87,000 big rig trucks involved in crashes that resulted in an injury over the course of a single year. There were 4,050 large trucks involved in fatal crashes throughout the same year.

Vehicle malfunctions

Ten percent of trucking accidents were assigned a vehicle-related reason for the cause of the accident. This could include some type of vehicle systems failure, such as a blown tire, broken axel or worn out brakes. Sometimes the vehicle malfunction could be tied to the cargo. For example, if something is not secured properly in the trailer of the semi, it could shift. This shift can cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle.

Environment problems

For 3 percent of the big rig accidents, the environment is the main cause of the collision. Often, poor road conditions are tied to current construction work, the need for road repairs or inclement weather. If there is heavy rain, for example, drivers may be unable to see vehicles traveling ahead of them due to the decreased field of vision. Even if the driver is traveling at reduced speeds, he or she may still end up in some type of crash.

Driver distractions

Driver-related causes account for 87 percent of semi crashes. If the driver is traveling too quickly for the current road conditions, the cause of the accident would be linked to the driver rather than the environment. Other driver distractions that could lead to collision include the following:

  • Tuning the radio
  • Texting on a cellphone
  • Being too drowsy
  • Being intoxicated

These distractions can compound quickly. For example, if a driver looks out the passenger window to watch a deer on the side of the road, he may not notice the vehicles in front of him hitting their brakes. When he does finally notice, he may not have enough time to slow down without slamming into the back of a car or jackknifing. In fact, colliding into the back of another car that is traveling in the same lane as the semi is one of the three biggest events related to big rig accidents. It accounts for 22 percent of large truck crashes.

When a Louisiana resident has to travel long distances frequently, he or she may end up in situations that could cause accidents more often than someone who does not drive a commercial vehicle. It can be beneficial to work with a knowledgeable attorney if an accident involving a big rig does take place.