5 Common Causes of Truck Accidents and How to Avoid Them

driver fatigue and speeding are common causes of truck accidents

Truck crashes can lead to severe injuries and significant property damage, due primarily to the nature of these incidents and the size of the vehicles involved. Understanding the most common causes of truck accidents is crucial for prevention.

Let’s take a look at the most common causes below, with tips from an experienced Atlanta truck accident lawyer.

1. Driver Fatigue

Effects: According to statistics, 5,788 people were killed in truck crashes on Georgia’s roads during 2021. Driver fatigue was one of the key factors in many truck accidents. Fatigue can lead to slowed response times, impaired judgment, and lapses in focus and attention.

The consequences of such accidents can be severe, leading to life-changing injuries such as traumatic brain injuries, orthopedic injuries to the back, neck, and hips, and emotional trauma.

Legal Aspect: Federal regulations, specifically the Hours of Service (HOS) regulations, limit the number of hours a truck driver can work without rest. These regulations include an 11-hour driving limit after 10 consecutive hours off duty, a 14-hour limit that may not be exceeded after coming on duty, and a 60/70-hour limit on duty in 7/8 consecutive days. Violations of these regulations can lead to legal consequences.

Prevention: To combat fatigue, trucking companies should adopt fatigue management strategies tailored to their drivers’ needs. These strategies may include scheduling regular breaks and rest periods, providing comfortable rest facilities, and ensuring manageable workloads. Drivers should also prioritize getting enough sleep.

2. Distracted Driving

Effects: Distracted driving increases the odds of being involved in a safety-critical event (e.g., crash, near-crash, unintentional lane deviation) by 23.2 times. It can lead to collisions at a rate 2 times higher than the least distracted drivers.

Legal Aspect: In Georgia, distracted driving is illegal. This includes any activity that could distract you from safely operating your vehicle, such as talking hands-free on a cell phone, texting, checking the radio or using any electronic equipment while driving.

Prevention: Drivers should keep their attention on the road at all times and avoid using electronic devices while driving. They should also take regular breaks to stay alert, fresh, and focused.

3. Speeding

Effects: Speeding can lead to a loss of balance, causing the driver to lose control of the truck and crash into other drivers. It also reduces a driver’s ability to steer safely around curves or objects in the roadway, extends the distance necessary to stop a vehicle, and increases the distance a vehicle travels while the driver reacts to a dangerous situation.

speeding is a frequent cause of truck crashes

Legal Aspect: In Georgia, there are absolute speed limit laws, prohibiting drivers from going too fast in school zones, residential areas, unpaved roads, and on highways.

Prevention: Drivers should always drive at a safe speed, be aware of their surroundings, and never drive above the speed limit.

4. Improper Loading

Effects: Improper loading of cargo can cause a truck to become unstable or difficult to control, leading to accidents. The cargo can shift during transit, causing the truck to become unbalanced and unstable on the road.

Legal Aspect: Georgia Code 40-6-248.1 stipulates that no commercial vehicle shall be driven with any load that is not securely fastened or covered. This is done to ensure that the load does not become detached and poses a risk to other drivers.

Prevention: Proper training on how to load different types of cargo and regular checks to ensure that cargo is securely fastened can help prevent such accidents.

5. Poor Vehicle Maintenance

Effects: Poor vehicle maintenance can lead to a variety of issues that can cause accidents. For instance, bad steering due to lack of maintenance may lead to loss of control, increasing the risk of head-on collision accidents. Truck drivers who don’t keep up with maintenance may be unaware of any defective parts inside their vehicles, which increases their chances of getting into an accident.

Legal Aspect: According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), every motor carrier and intermodal equipment provider must ensure or cause to ensure that their vehicles and trailers are regularly checked, inspected and maintained to ensure the proper functioning thereof.

Prevention: By performing systematic inspections such as daily pre-trip and post-trip inspections, and by repairing defects as soon as they are found, will ensure that accidents due to maintenance are avoided. Companies can invest in a scheduled maintenance program to ensure that their vehicles and equipment are functioning properly and adhere to maintenance regulations.

Contact The Weinstein Law to Learn More About Causes of Truck Accidents

Understanding these common causes of truck accidents and their legal implications can help in the prevention of such accidents. By contacting an experienced Atlanta truck accident attorney with the Weinstein Law Firm you can ensure that both trucking companies and drivers adhere to all federal and state laws and prioritize safety at all times.

If you have been injured as a result of a truck accident contact us at 770-HELP-NOW to ensure that you get the compensation you deserve.

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